An Evocation of One Man's Experience of The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster in Music and Poetry
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Bethnal Green: Jude Cowan Montague Outside Bethnal Green Tube Station and St John's church, E2 9PA Time: 9.30am, 10.30am & 11.30am The event will move between the street and the church
Image: Ant Smith
The Bethnal Green tube disaster has been remembered by the extraordinary eye witness testimony of Alf Morris. He is one of the few remaining survivors. One hundred and seventy-three people died in what is held to be the single worst civilian calamity of WW2 in Britain. Three hundred people, sheltering in Bethnal Green tube, panicked when they mistook the sound of anti-aircraft rocket fire for a bombing raid. The crowd pelted towards the inadequate aperture of the tube entrance, and fell over each other in the narrow stairwell, helpless.
My piece for Silent Cacophony is based on Alf Morris's oral history account. It was devised for an experimental performance in St John on Bethnal Green at the invitation of the artist Jo Roberts, to present a work relating to Bethnal Green on the opening of her exhibition 'Blythe Nook' in the church belfry. This second version of the piece will be improvised in music / spoken word from his very moving text but will add a promenade element as it is performed outdoors to passers-by, particularly users of the tube network as they arrive or leave the station where this dreadful event occurred.