Hoisting plinth into place for Bethnal Green wartime memorial is delayed

A section of the concrete plinth for the memorial to Britain’s worst wartime civilian disaster has been damaged even before being hoisted into place.

Only one of the three sections was delivered from the manufacturers by the time a 60ft mobile crane arrived at Bethnal Green Gardens in London’s East End on Monday to lift them into place.

“It was a bit frustrating,” admitted Sandra Scotting from the Stairway to Heaven trust that has been raising the funds for the �500,000 memorial.

“We’ve only managed to get one part of the plinth in place. There are two more sections, one of them slightly damaged.”

The 40ft-long white concrete section that did arrive was carefully winched over the treetops and slowly lowered next to the staircase on the corner of Roman Road and Cambridge Heath Road that leads down to Bethnal Green Underground station.

This is the staircase where 173 people were crushed to death during an air-raid alert in 1943.

The incomplete station was being used as a public air-raid shelter before the Central Line extension from Liverpool Street was completed.

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The trust hopes to have the memorial ready by the 70th anniversary on March 3, but still has �100,000 to raise.

The plinth will bear the names of those who died. Above will be a reverse staircase displaying 173 tiny lights—one for each of the men, women, children and babies who perished.