Hundreds of Bethnal Green residents evacuated on Monday after a bomb was discovered on a building site were yesterday allowed to return home as bomb disposal experts defused the device.
Residents were evacuated from their homes on Monday evening after contractors discovered the unexploded bomb at a building site on Temple Road, Bethnal Green at around 12:45 pm.
Initially only 150 residents were evacuated, but this number grew into hundreds once the exclusion zone was extended to 200 metres.
Hundreds of the evacuated residents spent the night at Bethnal Green Academy, which was used as a makeshift evacuation centre while the bomb was being defused.
Disposal experts worked through the night in their attempt to defuse the bomb, which was dropped on London by German Luftwaffe planes during the Second World War.
The Army spokesman from 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Royal Logistic Corps in charge of stabilising the bomb said: “I can confirm that the device is a German World War Two air delivered bomb weighing 250 kg which, if detonated, could cause mass destruction.”
He observed that the bomb had been in the ground for more than 70 years but added: “unlike fine wine [bombs] do not improve with age, it is potentially more dangerous today than the day it was made.”
The Metropolitan Police said that all road closures and cordons had been lifted by 4:07 pm Tuesday.
East London suffered catastrophic damage during the Blitz as Luftwaffe bombers targeted the docks. Between September and November 1940 almost 30,000 bombs were dropped on London.