Plaque (lost): First Zeppelin bomb of WW1 - incorrect
London Borough of Hackney
First bomb of World War One to fall from a Zeppelin on London dropped in the garden of The Nevill Arms public house, 30 May 1915.
This plaque was, according to the Council, a mistake and was removed by Hackney.
Site: First Zeppelin bomb of WW1 (1 memorial)
N16, Osterley Road, Osterley Arms
Londonist posted about a nearby house,16 Alkham Road, with a plaque claiming a similar title: the first London house hit in an air raid. We initially thought this Osterley Road plaque disproved that claim but the first Zeppelin raid on London was definitely on 31 May so this plaque has the date wrong and the Alkham Road house wins this undesirable accolade.
Credit to Ross Corben who first told us about this plaque and then to our friend at the Soho Society, Roger Shlomo Harris, who went along with his camera. And also to Simon Dowse who told us, October 2015, that the plaque has gone missing. And then to Alan Patient who forwarded this link which explains that this Osterley Road plaque was indeed a mistake - the bomb fell here on the 31st (not the 30th) and, crucially, after the Alkham Road bomb.
Hackney are probably rather embarrassed by this plaque. We certainly are now heartily sick of it and glad to know that it will not return!
Sorry, one more thing: Hackney have a photo of PC Edmund Forbes posing with this bomb, with "169 lbs" written on it.
2022: This story will not go away. A TV programme about Hackney interviewed the historian Ian Castle who described the bombing of the Nevill Arms as the first air raid, on the night of 31 May. Actually he said that the LZ38 airship dropped 3 incendiary bomb on nos 31 (the pub), 47 and 27 Nevill Road. Only that at number 27 actually exploded and caused a fire. The one at the pub landed on an outbuilding causing a hole in the roof. Castle did not mention Alkham Road (probably because the subject of the piece was Nevill Road, not the area more generally). What’s interesting here is that, even if Nevill Road was attacked before Alkham Road, the pub cannot have been the first hit, since the building is in the middle of the run of 3 bombs, which is, north to south: 47, 31, 27.
Also, on that Hackney page Castle refers to bombs landing on a number of other roads that night including Alkham Road. So our understanding now is that the plaque on the pub was 'wrong' because it gave the wrong date. Also Alkham Road is the most northerly of the bomb sites mentioned for that night so that presumably was first, even if only by a matter of minutes.