COUNTDOWN TO VE DAY 75: 7 MAY 1945
By Chris Rogers, May 7 2020 06:55AM
Seventy-five years ago today, 7 May 1945, the war in Europe was over by the time people woke up. In the early hours of this morning in a room at the technical college of Reims in France that served as his headquarters, Eisenhower took the formal surrender of all remaining German forces in Europe. The German delegation had arrived late on 6 May with the hope of a signing before midnight but negotiations had taken longer than intended. The surrender was to come into effect at 23:01 Central European Time on 8 May 1945 (one minute past midnight on 9 May, given the daylight-saving then in effect – Britain was in the same time zone for the duration). The delay was to allow Russia, whose own army was pushing forward from the east and which was not properly represented at Reims, to be informed and a simultaneous announcement and so news of the agreement was embargoed as a result. Posing for the press immediately afterwards, Eisenhower made a ‘V for Victory’ sign with the pens used in the ceremony. One journalist leaked the story, however, and by this afternoon the secret was out in much of the West. In Britain the public were anxious for confirmation and eventually the government, in hasty consultation with those of the other Western Allies, had to announce that Churchill would speak to the nation at 3pm tomorrow, 8 May. Just a few hours after the signing at Reims, and still an hour before sunrise, the advance party of the RAF’s No.8401 Air Disarmament Wing embarked at Tilbury for the crossing to Ostend in Belgium, including my father. The Wing’s war diary notes that “lifebelts were issued together with a paper vomit bag”, although fortunately the crossing was calm.
Chris's first book examines the career and works of British architect Michael Pearson, the third generation to head the practice founded by his grandfather in 1904. Pearson's presidency of the Architectural Association and his pioneering and prescient Burne House building are covered.
"Throws light on significant achievements"
– Patrick Duerden, Practice Director, Donald Insall
Black Dog Publishing, 2010
ISBN 978 1 906155 73 5
Become an architectural detective with Chris's second book, investigating the styles of a thousand years of building in the world's most visited city from the middle ages to the present day. Illustrated and with photographs, maps and addresses, also included are a list of resources and a two-part introduction.
"A little gem"
– Terry Philpot, Tablet
Ivy Press, 2016 with Larousse (French edition) and Akal (Spanish)
ISBN 978 1 78240 406 4
Chris's third book - a publisher's best-seller - reveals the hidden gems as well as the iconic landmarks of London's rich built history, from shops that survived the Great Fire to the 2012 Olympic village. Covering the West End, City and Docklands, the book follows the same format as How to Read Paris.
– Don Brown, The London Society
Ivy Press, 2017
ISBN 978 1 782404 52 1
Chris is one of more than a dozen specialists whose essays fill this fresh examination of the charms of Paris, which is edited by John Flower. Looking at the French capital's history, culture and districts, each item can be read in just half a minute and is illustrated with its own collage-style spread.
Ivy Press, 2018
ISBN 978 1 782405 44 3
Commissioned from Chris by the Chief Magistrate for England & Wales to mark the closure of Bow Street Magistrates' Court, this pamphlet celebrates the world-famous institution and its final home. It was given exclusively to guests at a commemorative reception.
"I really like both the research behind it, and its clarity and accessibility"
– Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive, Her
Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service
Private press, 2006
The Twentieth Century Society’s new peer-reviewed Journal on commercial architecture in Britain since the 1920s includes Chris’s piece on Fitzroy Robinson's pioneering atrium buildings in the City of London. The piece is founded in original research including archive imagery, interviews and site visits.
Twentieth Century Society, 2020
ISBN 978 0 955668 76 0