1 January 0001
On March 3rd 1943, 173 people - mainly women and children - perished in a crush at the entrance to Bethnal Green tube station in East London. It was the worst civilian disaster of World War II in Britain. The underground station had been used as an air raid shelter throughout the Blitz. On that night, as so often before, the warning siren had gone - but this time no bombs fell. Instead the victims were crushed or asphyxiated on a narrow staircase whose design was faulty. While the survivors and the bereaved struggled to make sense of what had happened, officialdom initially sought to hush it up, via a brief investigation held in secret. Local people wouldn't wear this, so a magistrate, Laurence Dunne, was appointed to a lead an inquiry. His conclusions were unwelcome to the war-time government, which effectively suppressed them, and transferred the blame to the victims (for panicking) and to the same local council which had for years warned of the dangers, and who were prevented from defending themselves by the Official Secrets Act.
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