Page 13: World War II

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WWII greatly affected the civilian population, especially during the Blitz and later from the V2 rockets or “doodlebugs”. In Kensington alone, almost three thousand casualties were sustained and over 33,000 houses were destroyed, including Holland House.

After the war new buildings were erected on devastated sites, including Henry Dickens Court. By 1957 5,878 dwellings had been provided in Kensington. By the 1960s architects and planners were advocating tower blocks as the solution to housing problems. Trellick Tower, Lancaster Road Estate and the Worlds End Estate have certainly made an impact on the skyline. While most of the wartime gaps have been filled, housing is still an important aspect of Council’s planning and policy.

In 1965 the London County Council was replaced by the Greater London Council, which took on a more strategic role especially for town planning. In April 1971 every authority was required to establish a Social Services department. This has led to a more comprehensive and unified approach with emphasis on the family. With the abolition of the GLC in 1986 and the Inner London Education Authority in 1990, the process of devolution to the boroughs was complete.


Bomb site

Blitz damage in the Beecher Street area in 1947
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Queen Mum with Mayor at Henry Dickens Estate

HRH the Queen Mother, with Lady Petrie, opening Henry Dickens Court, 1953
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Virtual Museum – The History of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
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