1940-1949

1940-1949

The 1940s was dominated by the second world war. London had first experienced aerial bombing during the first world war but this time bombs had a devastating effect. During the Blitz and subsequent attacksover 20,000Londoners lost their lives andover a millionbuildings were destroyed or seriously damaged.

At the end of the war in 1945 planners and politicians eagerly seized the opportunity to reconstruct London as a 'New Jerusalem', a city which provided decent standards of living for all. Britain was now to be a 'Welfare State'. As part of the reconstruction effort, skilled labour began to arrive from overseas. In 1948 the ship Empire Windrush, brought workers from the West Indies to help Britain rebuild itself.

London's population, 1939 - 1951 (no census was taken in 1941)

Greater London: 8,615,050 people - 8,193,921 people
Inner London: 4,013,400 people - 3,347,982, people

London's economy and jobs

Many manufacturing firms had moved out of London during the war and some never returned. However new sources of jobs appeared: Heathrow Airport opened as London's new airport in 1946. Jobs in the 'public sector' also began to rise. The number of full time teachers in London employed by the London County Council increased from 14,273 in 1946 to 17,109 in 1950.

The docks resumed their role as the hub of Commonwealth trade, handling imports and exports from all over the world. By the end of the decade the work force was approaching 30,000 men.

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