I first saw this on a poster in a bookstore in NYC, think it was the great Strand bookstore.
This was one poster I wanted but never got around to bringing it home on the plane. Recently I
discovered it online and some history behind it. This was taken at Holland House in London after a bombing during the Blitz. Holland House was built in 1605, in the 19th century hosted literary types as Byron, Thomas Macaulay, Benjamin Disraeli, Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott.
Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and King George VI attended the last great ball held at the house a few weeks before the outbreak of World War II. In September 1940, the building was badly hit during a ten hour bombing raid. Today the remains form a backdrop for the open air Holland Park Theatre, home of Opera Holland Park. A youth hostel is now located in the house. The Orangery is now an exhibition and function space, with the adjoining former Summer Ballroom, The Belvedere, now a restaurant. The former Icehouse is now a gallery space.
Here's a clip from British Pathé newsreel that shows the library. http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=75191
HOLLAND HOUSE DAMAGED
The remains of Holland House were left in ruins until 1952 when it was partially restored, leaving some ruined areas to remember, and thrives today. But this photo says so much; what people go to in adversity, the strength of reading, the refuge books provide and so much. I posted the photo on Facebook and received so many, many comments I'd like to share some here. It touched a chord for many.
" It's good to know you'll be surrounded by friends when you die."
"I still think there is nothing like a REAL book to read ... not Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook. Just bought Murder in the Marais today ... a real book!"
"If we have a power outage I guess people might have to ...read!"
"The British ethos of "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON" when confronted by adversity"
"My parents were in London during the blitz, my father designed radar, my mother was a red cross nurse - but they went to the theatre."
"Oh my gosh. I'm a librarian and absolutely love this!"
From our UK friend Ali Karim "My elderly Aunt from North London was a Nurse in London. She is German and came to London just after WW2. She came with my Uncle who was a pilot, and like me of Indian origin. My aunt Klara due to her German background suffered terrible racial abuse from the other London nurses, because due to terrible London Blitz, many had lost relatives and seen many terrible results on the people of London. At that time she could not tell them about the equally terrible bombing of German cities such as Dresden, or where she was a child, and witnessed for herself, with her own eyes, the horrific damage those bombers did during those dark days. She was a great reader, loved music. Well into her 90's she is in a nursing home with a destroyed short-term memory, but her long-term memory is intact, complete with sounds of aircraft engines, bomb blasts and the screams they brought."
Cara - Tuesday