Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456
HOLLAND HOUSE, Kensington, London. An interior view of the bombed library at Holland House with readers apparently choosing books regardless of the damage. Photographed in 1940. The House was heavily bombed during World War II and remained derelict until 1952 when parts of the remains were preserved.
Holland House, originally known as Cope Castle, was a great house in Kensington in London, situated in what is now Holland Park. Created in 1605 in the Elizabethan or Jacobean style for the diplomat Sir Walter Cope, the building later passed to the powerful Rich family, then the Fox family, under whose ownership it became a noted gathering-place for Whigs in the 19th century. The house was largely destroyed by German firebombing during the Blitz in 1940; today only the east wing and some ruins of the ground floor still remain.
In 1940, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attended the last great ball held at the house. A few weeks later, on 7 September, the German bombing raids on London that would come to be known as the Blitz began. During the night of 27 September, Holland House was hit by twenty-two incendiary bombs during a ten-hour raid. The house was largely destroyed, with only the east wing, and, miraculously, almost all of the library remaining undamaged. Surviving volumes included the sixteenth-century Boxer Codex.
Holland House was granted Grade I listed building status in 1949, under the auspices of the Town and Country Planning Act 1947; the Act sought to identify and preserve buildings of special historic importance, prompted by the damage caused by wartime bombing. The building remained a burned-out ruin until 1952, when its owner, Giles Fox-Strangways, 6th Earl of Ilchester, sold it to the London County Council (LCC). The remains of the building passed from the LCC to its successor, the Greater London Council (GLC) in 1965, and upon the dissolution of the GLC in 1986 to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Today, the remains of Holland House form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park. The YHA (England and Wales) "London Holland Park" youth hostel is now located in the house. The Orangery is now an exhibition and function space, with the adjoining former Summer Ballroom now a restaurant, The Belvedere. The former ice house is now a gallery space.
© Historic England Archive
Comptometer Room, Stratford Cooperative Society 1914 BL22762
STRATFORD CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY, Maryland Street, Stratford, Greater London. Interior view of the Comptometer Room at Stratford Co-operative Society, showing girls and boys working on model 'E' compometers, manual calculating machines. The comptometer, invented in 1887 by American, Dor Felt, was the first successful manual calculating machine. The children in the photograph could be employed in work, with the school leaving age only being raised to 14 in the Education Act of 1918. Photographed by Harry Bedford Lemere, 1st July 1914.
© Historic England
St Giles Fair, Oxford CC49_00539
St Gilesa Fair, Oxford, Oxfordshire, September 1905.
Photographed by Henry William Taunt (1842-1922) on silver gelatin glass plate negative. Despite the bustle of St Giles's Fair, the photographer Henry Taunt has inevitably attracted attention perched, presumably on a stepladder, above the fairgoers. Employees of the ornately decorated Taylor's Royal Electric Coliseum are drumming up business, and a Fried Fish and Chip Potato wagon stands beside the gas lamp. St Giles's Fair had evolved from a parish wake first mentioned in 1624 into a major amusement fair with special trains bringing visitors from far afield. Taunt photographed the fair from the late 1860s, hoping of course to sell many images, and also out of personal interest.
© Historic England