IWM London

Free exhibition

A photograph showing women welders making stirrup pump handles during the Second World War.
Women welders making stirrup pump handles © D 3589

Discover how ordinary Londoners faced the challenges of life at home during the Second World War through the story of the Allpress family. Learn how they coped with rationing, evacuation, war work and events on the home front from the London Blitz to VE Day.

'War broke out on a Sunday [and] I was evacuated…big red double decker buses, masses of them outside the school…I just couldn’t understand it, why have I got to leave my family?'

John Allpress was 10 years old when he and his classmates were evacuated.

Wartime life

A photograph showing members of the Allpress family
Members of the Allpress family including Alice, Thelma, William and Harry © IWM

Wartime life

Explore reconstructions of 1940s rooms and see how the war affected life at home. Discover the different wartime roles - both male and female, and how radios connected people in Britain with those on the fighting front.

Courage, duty, determination

An archive photograph of Harry Allpress in uniform
Harry Allpress in uniform © IWM

Courage, duty, determination

Harry Allpress served in the forces during the war. At the age of 20, as the last surviving member of the immediate Allpress family, Harry was called up into the Army in September 1939 and by May 1940 he was evacuated from Dunkirk with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

He later returned to France after the D-Day landings in June 1944. For his bravery and leadership, he was awarded the Military Medal.


IWM London building

IWM London
Lambeth Road

  • Lambeth North
  • Elephant & Castle