Like many parts of London during World War II, Vincent Street in Westminster was turned to rubble after a direct hit during the Blitz that destroyed a row of stable houses.
Just a short walk from the Houses of Parliament, the area remained a bombed-out site for 40 years until it was finally redeveloped into sheltered homes in the 1980s – and remarkably, two fireplaces remain.
These photos show how one of the stone hearths on the street still looks almost perfectly intact with its metal grille, after being there for 80 years without his home since the German bombings.
The old red brickwork that graced the top of the fireplace can also still be seen, as it remains neatly next to a large gate after the major renovation and redevelopment of the area.
One of the stone fireplaces on Vincent Street in Westminster still looks almost perfectly intact today with its metal grille, having stood there without a house for 80 years since the German bombing destroyed a row of stables’ houses
The fireplace remains neatly tucked away next to a large gate (center) after the major redevelopment of the area
The fireplace (circled) is on a road that was bombed for 40 years until it was finally redeveloped in the 1980s
Bomb maps detailing the damage the Luftwaffe has inflicted on the streets of London confirm that Vincent Street was hit by a large explosive – with the key revealing how much of it was ‘damaged beyond repair’.
A total of 21 homes fell under the category around the area. Images of the fireplace were shared on Facebook on Wednesday by Steven Herd, who wrote: ‘Fascinating find. A fireplace in a wall on Vincent Street, SW1.
“There was a row of stable houses here that had been lost in the Blitz. The site remained as a bombed-out site for 40 odd years until it was redeveloped into sheltered housing in the 1980s. There are two more fireplaces. ‘
The Blitz started on September 7, 1940 and was the most intense bombing campaign ever in Britain. Named after the German word ‘Blitzkrieg’, meaning a war of lightning, the Blitz claimed the lives of more than 40,000 civilians.
Bomb maps showing the damage done to the streets of London by the Luftwaffe confirm that Vincent Street was hit by a large explosive – with the key revealing that 21 properties in the area (indicated in purple) had been ‘irreparably damaged’.
The aftermath of a Blitz bombing at the corner of Regency Place and Rutherford Street, two roads off Vincent Street, in 1944
Firefighters fight flames on Regency Place and Rutherford Street in Westminster in 1944 after the bombing
Between September 7, 1940 and May 21, 1941, there were major raids in the UK with more than 20,000 tons of explosives dropped on 16 cities. London was attacked 71 times and bombed for 57 consecutive nights.
The city and the East End suffered from the bombing of German bombers using the Thames as their guide. Londoners expected heavy raids during full moon periods and these became known as ‘bomber moons’.
More than a million London homes were destroyed or damaged – and of those killed in the bombing, more than half came from London.
In addition to the streets of London, several other British cities – intended to be hubs of the island’s industrial and military capabilities – were battered by Luftwaffe bombs, including Glasgow, Liverpool, Plymouth, Cardiff and Belfast.
A row of wrecked taxis in London’s Leicester Square is depicted on 1 November 1940 after being bombed by a Blitz.
Police lead people away from danger after they arrive at the scene of a Blitz bombing in London on October 19, 1940
Despite the general bombing of the capital, some landmarks remained intact – such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was virtually unharmed despite many of the buildings surrounding it having been reduced to rubble.
Adolf Hitler planned to demoralize Britain before launching an invasion with his naval and ground forces. The Blitz came to an end in late May 1941, when Hitler set his sights on invading the Soviet Union.
Other British cities affected during the Blitz included Coventry, where the medieval cathedral was destroyed and a third of the houses made uninhabitable, while Merseyside was the most bombed area outside London.
There were also major bombings in Birmingham, where 53 people were killed in a weapons factory, and Bristol, where the Germans dropped 1,540 tons of explosives and 12,500 incendiary bombs overnight – killing 207 people.