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Play time

A group of children playing in the foundations of a demolished building. 1950. Mediadrumimages/TopFoto

Stunning images show how London was slowly rebuilt after the Blitz

Will Metcalfe

Bombed, burned and left in tatters – London was hit hard by German air raids during the Second World War.

Yet these amazing images capture a city on the brink of being reborn after being battered in the Blitz.

From gaping cellars and crumbling foundations to churches being rebuilt with salvaged stones, this is the story of a country once again picking itself back up from the ruins of war.

The remarkable photographs offer an insight into just how long the rebuilding process took with these images shot in London in 1950, five years after the end of the Second World War.

The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against Britain in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for ‘lightning’.

During the Blitz 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 were seriously injured. Two million houses, of which 60 per cent were in London, were destroyed in the Blitz.

In one 6-month period, 750,000 tons of bombsite rubble from London were transported by railway on 1,700 freight trains to make runways on Bomber Command airfields in East Anglia. Bombsite rubble from Birmingham was used to make runways on US Air Force bases in Kent and Essex in southeast England.

Many sites of bombed buildings, when cleared of rubble, were cultivated to grow vegetables to ease wartime food shortages and were known as victory gardens.