Exhibition in Kingsbury shines light on Wembley’s Air Raid Wardens during World War 2

Bomb damage in Wembley

Bomb damage in Wembley - Credit: Archant

When Cheryl Hutton from Nashville discovered a coat of arms in a Tennessee charity shop, she thought it would be an attractive thing to hang on her wall.

Bomb damage in Wembley

Bomb damage in Wembley - Credit: Archant

Fast forward one year, and the wooden artwork is the centrepiece of a new exhibition at Kingsbury Library that tells the story of Wembley’s Air Raid Wardens (WARW) in the Second World War.

The exhibition has been curated by Alison Harman, a Brent Museum volunteer, and Wembley History Society (WHS) member Philip Grant. It features the WARW service from its first recruits in March 1938 to the end of its work in July 1945.

Mr Grant said: “Cheryl in Nashville was generous to donate the coat of arms so people in the Wembley area could discover this wonderful piece of their local history first hand.

“I hope as many people as possible take the opportunity to see it at Kingsbury Library.”

The “Post 12” plaque’s journey back home across the Atlantic began after Cheryl made contact with the WHS to find out more about its origins.

The plaque shows a Wembley lion in the top quarter and below it shows an air raid warden’s helmet, gas mask and rattle.

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The “A.R.P.” on its ribbon stands for Air Raid Precautions – the organisation set up to protect neighbourhoods from bombings on the eve of war.

The piece is exhibited at the library in Kingsbury Road as it’s likely to be near where Post 12 and the mysteriously-named Beggars Roost mentioned in the coat of arms were headquartered.

The WARW was run by some 2,500 men and women, 95 per cent of them volunteers managing 80 posts in the borough. Each post was equipped with a table, two chairs, hat and coat hooks and a notice board.

Objects and pictures from the Brent Museum and Archives collections, together with several borrowed from Wembley History Society members, form part of the exhibition.

It also includes work from volunteers in the A.R.P. first aid and rescue teams.

Mr Grant is giving an illustrated talk on Wembley’s Second World War A.R.P. Service at the library on April 24 at 11am. The exhibition runs until May 31