Hidden Stories and Community Memories

We wanted to tell the stories of hidden heroes as part of Zeppelin 1917. It has been an opportunity to delve into the past uncover its stories and explore what it meant to be living in this part of south London during the war.

We’ve gathered the material for this exhibition from a wide range of sources and received support from local archives and museums.

Family stories

Relatives of the survivors of the raid from the Glass and Balls families got in touch with us through this website, specifically the page on Bomb Damage.

Greta, aged 101 at the time of our commemoration, which she attended, was rescued from the rubble of the raid which killed two of her brothers. We heard how Greta went on to serve (and bugle) with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) in WW2, and witness first-hand the liberation of Europe.

We’ve spoken with Greta and Peter, children of Nellie and Henry Boyce Balls. Members of the Glass family have also been in touch and contributed their family stories to the exhibition.

Mementoes and Memories

The Cuming Museum has a unique collection of memorabilia showing ordinary people’s experiences in the war. These were collected from 1916 onwards. Cuming Museum will provide an opportunity to see these objects on Friday 27 October as part of Zeppelin 1917 commemorations.

The Imperial War Museum (IWM), was set up by the government in 1917 specifically to commemorate the war experiences of Britain and the empire.

Our research at IWM has revealed a treasure trove of sources that give the human story on the Zeppelin raid of 19 October 1917. Including interviews with people about their war experiences.

Caroline Rennles, a munitions worker tells how she used the cellar of the bath house in this building to shelter from Zeppelin attacks and Gotha bombers.

Southwark Local History Library and Archive, has provided endless support for our researchers. They have an extensive collection about the home front. We have also used material from local newspapers, minutes from council meeting and local photographs to tell the story of Camberwell and Peckham.

Remembering the Raid

In Burgess Park, the raid, and community memories of its horror, are commemorated on a plaque in Chumleigh Gardens, replacing the original plaque, in Calmington Road. A new memorial art work has also just been commissioned for the park, from Sally Hogarth.

Calmington Road was among a number of streets demolished to make way for Burgess Park. The Zeppelin 1917 project helps us to remember the life and experiences of the people who lived in what is now our beautiful park.