Liverpool Blitz: Buildings damaged in the May Blitz

Houses in Liverpool and the surrounding area were badly damaged during the war. 40% of Liverpool's houses were either destroyed or badly damaged leaving 51,000 people homeless. The percentage was even higher in Bootle where most of the docks were situated. There, less than 10% of homes were left undamaged and around 25,000 people were made homeless. The problem in Bootle was made worse by the council's refusal to merge their fire services with Liverpool's, so the town's brigades worked alone.

Damage to the Customs & Excise BuildingInside the burnt building
Customs & Excise building on Canning Place was first damaged on 1 September 1940 (left). Inside the burnt building (right).

Many of Liverpool's most famous buildings were either damaged or destroyed during the May Blitz. The most famous casualty was the Customs House, sited close to the dock.

Some buildings were totally lost and had to be rebuilt after the war, including the central telephone exchange, the Rotunda Theatre on Stanley Road and the Bryant and May safety match works. The Corn Exchange was also lost so the traders simply moved their business to local coffee houses.

Gallery at World Museum LiverpoolGallery at World Museum Liverpool
Blitzed galleries at World Museum Liverpool

Others were severely damaged but could be repaired, eg Blacklers and Lewis' department stores, the Bluecoat school, Bootle Town Hall and most of Lord Street in the city centre.

The Anglican cathedral had a close escape when a bomb fell through the roof then left through an outside wall, before exploding beyond the building.

St Luke's church, on the corner of Leece Street and Berry Street (known locally as 'the bombed out church'), was gutted by fire. Unlike other damaged buildings it was not repaired or rebuilt, and today stands as a memorial to those who lost their lives during the war.


Visit Liverpool's monument to the Blitz, St Luke's Church, known locally as the 'bombed out church'. St Luke's Church, Hardman Street, Liverpool 2.

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