Sheffield Blitz: Two nights in December 1940 that changed the face of the city forever
and live on Freeview channel 276
The discovery of my grandma's memoir, written just before she passed away, initially piqued my interest in the attacks.
She didn't write much about the devastation but focused on the petty squabbles that used to be a feature of life in the communal air raid shelter in Fir Vale.
With little time for neighbours, sitting for hours in a cold, damp Anderson Shelter was her worst nightmare. They were lucky – they escaped pretty much unscathed.
Thousands more weren’t so lucky. Nearly a tenth of the city’s population were made homeless on December 12th and 15th, 1940. Over 2,000 people were killed or wounded.
My grandma’s words became the catalyst for months of research on the attacks.
I read everything about the bombing, interviewed scores of survivors, and travelled as far as the Imperial War Museum in London to track down lost photos.
'Sheffield's Date With Hitler' is the result and is just back in print.
It's one of the books I'm most proud of, not least because the BBC turned it into a documentary.
My research truly demonstrated the tenacity and resilience of the Sheffield people in the face of such devastation and loss of life.
It took the city years to rebuild.
Great swathes of the city centre was flattened. Many of Sheffield’s great department stores were gone in the blink of an eye – Atkinsons, Walsh’s, Cockaynes, Redgates and more.
It wasn’t until 1960 until a new Atkinsons store was finally re-opened.
You can check out the book here: https://dirtystopouts.com/products/sheffields-date-with-hitler-blitz-80th-anniversary-edition