This is an account from a survivor of the bombing, from the bbc history website:
“One evening in September 1940 in Chelsea, my sister Ada, her fiance Harry and I were at home with the family in Tetcott Road when the sirens went. Harry and I wrapped up warmly and rushed to offer what help we could. Our first encounter was at my Aunt’s house in Meek street. Something had dropped in the attic rooms. Harrry and I dashed up to find the attic burning. Luckily no explosive incendiary bombs had landed up there. We grabbed the sand buckets and doused the fires. Next we crossed into Lots Road and heard noises from the horses in a stable. They were banging their hooves and whining as their stables were alight. We smashed open the side door of the stables, managed to get inside and opened the large stable doors. The horses dashed out and fled. Further along Lots Road was a storage depot called The Overland. The caretaker shouted for help as some of the items were on fire. We went inside and tried to work the stirrup pump to douse the burning boxes. Poor Harry was pumping hard whilst I held the jet but the pressure was low and only a trickle came out. It was like a drop in the ocean. I remember shouting to him “Pump harder Harry, I want more water”
After the war, the bomb- damage was cleared. Prefab buildings were quickly put up as a temporary measure to provide shelter for those who had been made homeless. The streets were closed to traffic and this piece of waste ground became a makeshift playground for local children. When motorists tried to use it as a short cut, the children protested by laying down in the street. In 1951 a park was proposed, but it took until 1981 for it to finally receive planning permission.
A gardener hauls an unruly yellow hose across the path to water the rose bushes, the arcing spray making little rainbow patches in the air. A headscarved nanny wheels a baby to a bench, where she sits and rocks the buggy and starts softly singing a lullaby in an eastern European language (I think!). She is interrupted as the warm afternoon air detonates with the excited commotion of school students from nearby Chelsea Academy, bursting into the park at the end of the school day.
In his ‘Sticks in the Smoke’ project, Nick Andrew has been regularly visiting, researching and drawing different publicly accessible parks or gardens in London since January 2016, exploring the theme of city green spaces from the perspective of a rural landscape painter. The first two sketchbooks will be published as a book in late 2018. www.nickandrew.co.uk . Nick is grateful to London Parks & Gardens Trust for their support www.londongardenstrust.org.
Westfield Park, Uverdale Road, Chesea, London. SW10 9BY
Google earth view here