Fish Island art auction for 1943 Bethnal Green disaster memorial appeal

Artist view of unfinished memorial to 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster

Artist view of unfinished memorial to 1943 Bethnal Green air-raid shelter disaster - Credit: Stairway to Heaven Trust

A month-long arts exhibition is being staged opposite the Olympics stadium to raise funds to complete a wartime memorial to East Enders killed in Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster.

Artwork is on sale from May 16 at Forman’s Fish Island gallery in Stour Road, Old Ford, in aid of the Stairway to Heaven Memorial’s final phase at Bethnal Green Gardens.

The memorial marks the tragedy in 1943 when 143 men, women and children were crushed trying to get to safety down a narrow staircase to an underground shelter in Bethnal Green during a sudden air-raid alert.

There are 61 black and white photographs of the old Jewish East End from the 1970s and ’80s never seen before which are included in the exhibition. All the artworks and photographs are for sale, some being auctioned at a special event on May 29.

But organisers say they need more artwork donated to help raise the final £100,000 to complete the memorial.


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The exhibition runs 5-9pm Thursdays and Fridays, and 12noon-5pm weekends from May 16 to June 15. Nearest Overground Hackney Wick, nearest DLR Pudding Mill.

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