Globe art critic Peter Grant goes back in time to the May Blitz of 1941 to experience a powerful, moving exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool.

BLITZED: Liverpool Lives is an exhibition every one should try and see.

From school parties to politicians.

Young and old.

This is living history.

It is a reminder of how the city stood up to the Second World War bombings and how we reacted - just like other suffering cities such as London, Coventry and Rotterdam.

Devastation is captured in every print.

Devastating is the graphic result.

I was born in the Scotland Road area and my parents seldom spoke of the infamous Blitz.

The scars remained.

I was aware even then that local people captured the spirit of Liverpool.

Rare photographs now take us back.

There are more than 60 photographs taken by Liverpool City Police from 1940 to the peak of destruction in 1941.

In the past I have edited books that have featured the impact of the Blitz and I have seen hundreds of shocking photographs, but there are many here that stopped me in my tracks and I must admit caused some tears to well up.

It is with pride and amazement that we can see what the city endured and how we refused to lie down and accept defeat.

We re-built this city on heart and soul.

It is not only the starkness of these images that struck a chord with me but the succinct personal accounts from those who were directly affected by the bombings - some buildings were on fire for days.

It brings home again the fact that 4,000 civilians were killed.

More than 10,000 homes were destroyed.

And 70,000 people were made homeless.

These are frightening figures on paper but when you walk around the walls you can see the human consequences of war - the very real horror and the attempt to kill innocent people and their communities.

According to the Museum of Liverpool curating team Liverpool suffered the second highest number of civilian deaths in air raids in the country and due to censorship, press reports often didn't tell the whole shocking story.

This quote from Mrs Dorothy Laycock, a child during the Blitz, sheds light on the sheer faith that was forged through the spiritual strength of ordinary people.

"They tried to wipe us off the face of the earth. They nearly did but they didn't quite, did they?"

Due to these rare pictures we are able to recognise how landmarks were brought back to life from near rubble such as St Nick's Church at the Pier Head to Walton Jail and the Lark Lane area of South Liverpool.

It is also a must 'smell' attraction as due to impressive sensory technology, there is a device to experience the distinct aromas of the blitz ... at the push of a button.

There are also audio and written memories of how the people re-built the city carrying on in the most severe of onslaughts from Hitler's Luftwaffe.

This is a real-life story with ordinary people at the heart of Merseyside history.

Kay Jones, curator of Urban History Community, said: "Seeing these striking images of desolation alongside the experiences of people who were there really brings home what this city and its people went through.

"They reveal many stories of personal tragedy but also the incredible resilience of local people."

Blitzed: Liverpool Lives is on view until summer 2021

Five stars.

Moving and uplifting.

Admission free.

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