VE Day 75: Poignant film explores Redbridge’s Second World War history

PUBLISHED: 09:00 08 May 2020

1945 VE Day Ilford celebrations (Pic: Redbridge council)

1945 VE Day Ilford celebrations (Pic: Redbridge council)


To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre has released a new online film exploring Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford during the war.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre has released a new online film exploring Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford during the war.

Redbridge and the Second World War delves into the borough’s history by weaving together images, information and stories from those who lived locally to provide a fascinating and moving account of life in the borough at that time.

The film looks at the outbreak of the war, evacuation of children, the Home Front, the contribution of local industries, the damage caused to the local area by air raids, Victory celebrations, and the bittersweet aftermath of the war.

Among the many local landmarks featured in the film with war-time tales to tell is Ilford (now Redbridge) Town Hall.

Victory in Europe – VE Day – was declared on May, 8, 1945, a day after Germany surrendered. The prime minister (and local MP for Woodford) Winston Churchill gave his now iconic BBC radio broadcast to the nation announcing the German surrender.

An hour after the broadcast The Mayor of Ilford read out Churchill’s speech to a packed crowd outside Ilford Town Hall which was decorated with flags and bunting.

The news of Victory in Europe sparked street parties all over Ilford, Wanstead and Woodford.

Gareth Morley, head of culture and libraries for Vision RCL which manages the museum, said: “In our current challenging times it is poignant to commemorate the hardships of the wartime generation who fought so bravely for the freedoms we take for granted today.

“Redbridge Museum hopes the film will provide a unique insight into how the war affected the borough and will be both a valuable educational resource and a fitting tribute to local residents.

“We hope you enjoy the film and will share with friends and family.”

The leader of Redbridge Council, Cllr Jas Athwal, added: “This film is a fitting reminder of the extraordinary courage and irrepressible spirit that helped local communities come through what was undeniably a dark and terrifying part of our history.

“I hope you all enjoy Friday’s celebrations. Let’s take time to remember those who risked their lives to protect our freedom and pay our respects to our Armed Forces community, past and present, by sharing two minutes silence on our doorsteps at 11am.”

The film, which received 1200 views within 48 hours of its online debut, was researched, written and produced by Redbridge Museum staff.

The team used the extensive collection of local photographs, unique local history archives and oral histories collected by Redbridge Museum & Heritage Centre, in Redbridge Central Library.

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