Plaque request over WW2 tragedy on Isle of Dogs was "put into a beauty competition"

By Rob Virtue on July 16, 2014 2:40 PM |


A plaque to remember the Isle of Dogs' biggest wartime disaster has been funded privately after campaigners failed to secure Tower Hamlets Council support.

More than 40 died when a Second World War bomb hit the Bullivant's Wharf air raid shelter in March 1941.

The plaque, which has been installed at the site between Hutchings Street and Cuba Street, was funded by Keith Woods whose grandmother Minnie Ethel and aunt Doris died in the tragedy.

Tower Hamlets Council included it in a shortlist of 17 in its 'People's Plaque' competition to identify seven worthy of cash.

However, it failed to attract enough votes in the public poll so missed out.

Reg Beer, whose brother-in-law was one of many injured in the explosion, criticised the process.

"I think it's a shame the 40-plus dead and the numerous injured, should have been put into a kind of beauty competition to decide whether they were worthy of a plaque," he said.

The unveiling of the plaque was made on Saturday, July 5.


Reg, pictured above, said: "There was a good turnout as it meant a great deal to a lot of people. One family that was there lost five members in the tragedy."

A Tower Hamlets Council spokesperson said: "The plaque recently unveiled at Bullivant's Wharf was one of 17 plaques shortlisted to be funded by the council. As part of the People's Plaque scheme, residents had the opportunity to vote for their favourite location, person or event with the top seven having a plaque installed where planning permission was granted.

"Unfortunately, the plaque recently unveiled on the Isle of Dogs did not receive enough votes from the public to be selected."

Former Conservative councillor Gloria Thienel helped secure council approval for the plaque after private funding was found.