WW100: Poplar memorial features in new exhibition

War memorial to the victims of the Upper North Street School bombing in 1917

War memorial to the victims of the Upper North Street School bombing in 1917 - Credit: Archant

Poplar’s memorial to the victims of the 1917 school bombing features in a new exhibition at the Wellington Arch.

The aftermath of the bombing (Picture: Tower Hamlets Council)

The aftermath of the bombing (Picture: Tower Hamlets Council) - Credit: Archant

Thousands of war memorials were built after the First World War to honour those who lost their lives in the conflict.

Now English Heritage have created an exhibition of photographs, designs and statuettes of some of the most famous.

The memorial in Poplar Recreation Ground stands out in that it remembers the 18 pupils who were killed at Upper North Street School when a bomb fell through the roof.

Helen Grant MP, minister for the First World War centenary, launched the exhibition on Wednesday.

Schoolchildren by the memorial after it was built (Picture: Tower Hamlets Council)

Schoolchildren by the memorial after it was built (Picture: Tower Hamlets Council) - Credit: Archant


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She said: “Memorials link the tragic impact of world wars with local communities across the land.

“During the First World War all parts of the country sent men off to fight and women off to work. Virtually all suffered losses.

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“It’s time to consider how we can keep these memorials prominent in the public eye.

The bomb which hit Upper North Street School on June 13, 1917 was likely part of a raid aimed at nearby docks.

At that time, the school had three floors of classes - girls on the top, boys on the middle and infants on the ground.

The bomb made a direct hit, crashing through the floors before exploding, with most of the casualties coming from the infant class.

Read more of our coverage of the First World War centenary here.

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