Dan Steele

Photographic Colourist

Bomb Damage to the Post Office and Red Lion pub, Southampton, Nov 1940.

I was inspired by a thread written by Historic Southampton on Twitter, I decided to have a go at giving colour context to an original black and white image showing bomb damage to the Post Office on Southampton High street during the Blitz, November 1940.

During the winter of 1940, Southampton suffered as many as 57 bombing air raids from the Luftwaffe, now known as the Southampton Blitz. Many people lost their lives and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

In the foreground, right, we see the distinctive brown bricks belonging to the Old Post Office building on the High Street (Below Bar) in Southampton. The building has taken significant damage, the windows have been blown in, shrapnel scars are left in the masonry and large sections are missing. Today the building still shows the signs of the damage, with replacement masonry a darker colour to the original. The building is also now missing the porch over the right hand window.

To the left of the post office is Oakley and Watling, Fruit And Vegetable Merchants, which has also taken significant damage, with the frontage apparently blown inwards.

Next to Oakley and Watling is the Red Lion pub, which looks as though it’s lost its ground floor windows and the hanging sign above the door. The frontage has since been replaced and today looks more medieval style block-work design.

In the far background we can see the front and spire of Holyrood Church still intact. On the night of the 30th November 1940, the church was partially destroyed by German Bombs. Today you would find the Church left in its destroyed state, but made into a memorial.

Original Image: Southampton High Street bomb damage, Nov 1940. Source Unknown.

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