An invitation to a special tube station

Posted on by Barbara Mitchelhill

In my book, Billy’s Blitz, I wrote about an incident that happened in Balham tube station during WW2 when a bomb fell on the tube station killing many people who were there sheltering from the Blitz. In the story, Billy and his family are in the tube station when that bomb falls and the story tells of how Billy and his sister survive and how they search for their missing mother.

In October, I was invited to go to London for the 75th anniversary of that bombing so I travelled down the London and met two schools in Balham library. After we got to know each other a little, we walked from the library to the tube station, imagining what it must have been like for Billy to do this every day in the dark before sleeping in the underground.

At Balham tube station, the station manager met us and took us down onto the platform. He told us things that he had found out about the day that the bomb burst into the tube station – how the rubble cascaded through the roof, filling the platform as high as the clock that we could see hanging on the wall. I explained how people slept on the platform and we all lay down – there was a lot of giggling – to see what it would be like.

Then back to the library, reading from the chapter where Billy is in Balham tube station followed by signing lots of books.

What a busy and exciting event with wonderful children!

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