When Joy was just eight years old London was a target for regular nightly bomb strikes. For nine months during 1940 and 1941, people all over the city protected themselves from ‘the Blitz’ in specially designed air-raid shelters.
Several iron shelters were half-buried in Waterlow park, but Joy and her family spent most nights sleeping in Lauderdale House, on the ground floor. This may have been because the outside shelters felt cold, dark and cramped. Many other local people slept in Highgate tube, which had 60 bunk beds set up on its platforms deep underground.
One night, the covers on the outside shelters were blown right off and Joy heard an overpowering wind. She had no idea what it was. We now know a high explosive bomb landed on Hornsey Lane, about two minutes’ walk away. Joy, her family and Lauderdale House had a close escape.
Watch Joy's reaction to visiting Lauderdale House in 2015 here.