Posted on March 3, 2021 at 12:01 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Eastern London’s Bethnal Green Library was among the many buildings struck by Nazi bombs during the Blitz.

And yet it remained a refuge for the neighborhood throughout the rest of World War II — just in a slightly different way.

Historical novelist Kate Thompson recently learned that Bethnal Green librarians helped move its collection underground, literally, as part of a neighborhood effort to convert an unfinished Tube station into a shelter.

A few of its patrons are still alive, and one of them told Thompson how fondly she remembered the 4,000-book collection: “I didn’t worry about the bombs when I had my head buried in a book.”

The author shares far more details about and stories of the underground Bethnal Green Library in the Guardian.

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