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The Tobacco Girls Inspiration: Bristol Blitz Gallery – Lizzie Lane

Lizzie Lane was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories. This has inspired her new saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls.

The Blitz was an event that defined this country, and the UK’s major cities, including Bristol, got some of the worst of it. Between November 24 1940 and April 11 1941, 919 tonnes of bombs were dropped on Bristol, causing the deaths of around 1,300 people and destroying much of the historic city centre.

These photographs from Bristol Archives give an idea of the devastating result of the Blitz on the city and the landscape and setting that inspires Lizzie’s upcoming novel.

A damaged corner building with on Victoria Street as it crosses Bristol Bridge, 1951  39864/2/403

Ruins of the Fairfax Street bomb site, pictured in 1951. It took until 1957 for businesses, including H Salanson & Co. opticians, to return to the street after the bombings 39864/2/268 

Blitzed buildings behind Castle Street in 1951. During the first air raid almost a quarter of the Castle Park area was destroyed, including historic buildings and four churches 39864/2/475

Castle Green after the blitz, 1940s 40826/STR/127

Blitzed High Street looking towards St Peter’s Church, 1940s. The ruined church still stands and in 2008 a memorial was erected, inscribed with the names of the civilians killed in Bristol during the bombings 40826/STR/134

Blitzed St Peter’s Street, now known as Castle Green, during the 1940s 40826/STR/149

Much of Bedminster was bombed and damaged during the Blitz, including the tram depot 41969/1/6

Man walking across bombed Dolphin Street, which now lies underneath modern Castle Park 41969/1/18

Two nurses sitting in the bombed ruins of the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital, which was quickly restored ahead of the launch of the NHS in 1948 41969/1/22

Adults and children helping amongst the ruins of Newfoundland Road following the raid on March 16 1941 41969/1/30

People congregated around the ruins of Palmyra Road in Bedminster, to inspect damage caused by bombings on April 11 1941 41969/1/31

Children and adults amongst the wreckage at St Clement’s church, on the corner of Houlton Street and Newfoundland Road in St Jude’s. Civilians including the vicar can be seen digging through the rubble on April 9 1941 41969/1/43

People amongst the rubble on bombed Stafford Street in Bedminster, January 3 1941 41969/1/54

Men dig out the remains of a bombed tram on West Street in Bedminster, after it was blown off the road and into a shop on January 4 1941 41969/1/63

An unidentified building brought down in the Blitz 43207/13/10

The city centre left ruined after 1941 PicBox/3/Blitz/11

Temple Church, pictured in the 1940s, was bombed during the Blitz. The tower still survives, despite having a substantial lean since its construction PicBox/3A/Temp/30


*Many thanks and credit to the Bristol Archives and the Bristol24/7 article:*

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