A lucky escape from the Blitz

We’re coming up to the 80th anniversary of the day, 10th May 1941 – just one day before the Blitz ended, that the Charterhouse took a direct hit from an incendiary bomb destroying many parts of the site.

We owe the survival of the entire Chapel to the quick and brave actions of a person who had the presence of mind to shut the heavy Chapel door to prevent the fire spreading inside. However – there are two stories in circulation as to who this was….   One says that was Old Carthusian David Kirkaldy, who was then serving in the auxiliary fire service and attending at nearby Barts Hospital when the bomb hit. We know of this great deed from a letter sent to Sir James Stubbs, his Charterhouse School contemporary, in 1984, where he describes his actions to stop the fire spreading.  The other story says it was a Dr Harris that we have to thank. They were both helping the Fire Service – so perhaps it was both of them? As a potent reminder we have retained the door, which though half burned away, did the job and stopped further damage being done.

If you know anything more about the mystery of who shut the door – please do let us know! We have a lot to thank him for!

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