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Holland House library after an air raid BB83_04456 Featured -45 Image

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

RMS Olympic BL24990_021 Featured -45 Image

RMS Olympic BL24990_021

RMS OLYMPIC, White Star Line. View of the boat deck, looking aft, showing lifeboats and funnels. The Olympic was the first of a class of luxurious express transatlantic ocean liners, and entered service with the White Star Line in 1911 as the largest cruise liner in the world. Sister ship of the RMS Titanic, she was the only one of the class to prove a success, serving until 1935. After the Titanic sank in 1912, her stokers went on strike until sufficient lifeboats were provided for all passengers and crew. The ship was then refitted and additional safety measures installed. In 1914 the Olympic was requisitioned as a troopship, served in the Gallipoli campaign in 1915, and brought US troops to Europe in 1917. She returned to civilian service in 1920. Photographed by Bedford Lemere, Southampton, October 1921

© Historic England

Heston Aerodrome c.1930s AFL03_aerofilms_c19981 Featured -45 Image

Heston Aerodrome c.1930s AFL03_aerofilms_c19981

Heston Aerodrome, Hounslow, Middlesex. The control tower (centre) may have been the first purpose-built example and became the model for this class of building. Between 1931 and 1937 Heston Airport was operated as a commercial airport by Airwork Ltd (whose logo appears on the the Customs House and aircraft), after which it was taken over by the Air Ministry. It was used as a fighter base during wartime, but Heathrow was preferred as the site for a commercial airport and the aerodrome was closed in 1947. Aerofilms Collection (see Links)

© Historic England