Exploring...'Resilience'

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Every fortnight, we dig into the archives, collections and work of the museums and attractions in the City of London to uncover inspiring stories, images and films on a particular theme. This fortnight, in order to mark London History Day on 31 May, we are looking at the resilience of Londoners and of London.

As always, we've picked out some highlights below - take a look at our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for more.

Black Sunday

"The damage to the Docks was devastating and many lives were lost north and south of the river in what quickly became known as Black Saturday."

Watch 'Black Saturday', a demonstration of the bravery of Londoners, narrated by Zoe Wanamaker, from the @MuseumofLondon Docklands' galleries.

Find out more about the Port of London Authority.

Syd's Coffee - an East End institution

Syd's Coffee Stall served Londoners with hot drinks and rolls for a century. In winter 2019, Syd's closed its shutters in Shoreditch for the last time. It will live on as part of the new Museum of London's collection when it opens in Smithfield. Watch the video to discover the stall's fascinating history.

Rare images of London during the Blitz

The Cross and Tibbs Collection consists of 371 photographs taken between 1940 and 1945. The majority of the photographs were taken during the Blitz and give us an insight into the life in the City of London in the immediate aftermath. The ones taken after the Blitz, between 1942 and 1945, show us the extensive nature of the raids. The damaged buildings had been cleared revealing huge areas devoid of structures.  

One of the most iconic images was taken was by PC Tibbs on the night of 11th May 1941. 23 Queen Victoria Street collapsed into the road, whilst still on fire. Tibbs took the photograph while the building was in mid-collapse.

The images document the damage and the work of the emergency services in coping with the aftermath; they assisted in identifying the casualties, but also helped as an aid for rebuilding the City. The pictures are now held at the London Metropolitan Archives. Images from the collection are projected in a display at the City of London Police Museum. View the collection online on Collage, the City of London's picture archive.

© London Metropolitan Archives

London's bus conductresses

Below we see the winter uniform of a bus conductress employed by the London General Omnibus Company. The wartime employment of women was originally opposed by the Amalgamated Association of Tramway and Vehicle Workers. However, by 1916, a shortage of male workers led the LGOC to employ women for the first time. Within a year, over 2,500 women had stepped up and were employed by the company - the majority as bus conductresses. Before the war, many of these young women had been domestic servants and now working on the buses gave them a more visible and public role in wartime London as well as greater economic and social independence.

© Museum of London

Surviving lockdown with first violinist Maxine Kwok

As we have all discovered, it takes a lot of resilience to survive lockdown. London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) first violinist Maxine Kwok, who lives at the Barbican, has been documenting her experience in these blogs from the LSO. Discover lockdown life with Maxine.

London History Day 2020

On Sunday 31 May, Historic England, City of London Corporation and our partners, will be coming together to celebrate London’s resilience and share stories that remind us of the incredible strength, courage and community spirit Londoners have shown, today and throughout history. It’s a day to reflect, create, connect with each other and have fun. Watch this space for more information on how to get involved.