Today's Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

British Museum‘s Today’s Memory

British Museum damaged by bomb fire

Originally shared by British Museum

#onthisday‬ in 1941, the British Museum was badly damaged by fire following an air raid during the Blitz. However, the Museum had made plans for this eventuality. Towards the end of August 1939, when war seemed inevitable, the first container vans were sent to the Museum to start packing up items to protect them from damage during anticipated air raids. The Museum’s collection was evacuated to locations around the country, including Aldwych Tube in London and Aberystwyth Quarry in Wales.

In total six bombs fell on the Museum during the Second World War, with the final bomb on 10 May 1941 causing serious damage and fire which destroyed that had remained at the Museum, including 250,000 books.

The Museum reopened some of its galleries on 24 April 1946, but it was many years before all the damage was repaired. These images from our archives show the Coins and Medals Department, before the war in 1933 and after an air raid 10 May 1941

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