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The Worm Hole Podcast Episode 76: Kate Thompson (The Little Wartime Library)

Charlie and Kate Thompson (The Little Wartime Library) discuss the wartime history and community of East London’s Bethnal Green – the Tube station that housed locals during the Blitz, the library that moved down into the tunnels and is now back overground, and the people that made the community what it was. We also discuss wartime reading and the measures put in place to stop women reading escapist fiction.

Please note that there is a moderate swear word in this episode.

Bethnal Green Library
The Stepney Doorstep Society
Bethnal Green Tube Station and history
Pellicci’s restaurant
You can find photos of the underground library, tunnels, Kate in the library archives, and the quotes read, in Kate’s article for Historia Magazine
Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial in Budapest
The event that Kate references that also led to a crush disaster was The Hillsborough Disaster
Forever Amber
Secrets Of The Singer Girls
The Paris Library
The Last Bookshop in London
The Librarian Of Burned Books

Release details: recorded 11th May 2023; published 12th June 2023

Where to find Kate online: Website || Twitter || Instagram || TikTok

You can contact the show at

Go back to the list of episodes


02:02 How Kate found her story
04:36 Mrs Chumbley
06:09 The framing, using the Covid lockdown each end of the story
12:57 Why Kate created fictional narrators
15:55 How the tunnels at Bethnal Green Tube Station came to be used as bomb shelters and what it was all like
21:58 The Bethnal Green Tube Disaster
29:24 The Hughes Mansions bombing
31:09 Discussing Bethnal Green Library
32:28 The attempts to stop women reading whatever they wanted
37:26 Wartime reading: Mein Kampf and Forever Amber
40:54 Kate’s writing and language
43:06 What’s next?
47:05 Bethnal Green Library today
48:44 Kate’s forthcoming podcast

Photo credit: Debbie Clark.


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