Gas Mask Testing Van, War Memorial, 1939

© the artist. Image credit: Bromley Historic Collections

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This is one of a series of 39 paintings produced by Stephen Chaplin based upon his memories of his childhood during the Second World War in Orpington. This picture was painted for the 'Visions of War' exhibition at Bromley Museum in 2007. Stephen Chaplin remembers that the van stood by 'The Flag' Restaurant, Comfort Homes (builders) and Cora’s (circulating library and gents’ hairdressing), by the War Memorial. He explains that: 'Passers-by were invited to test their newly distributed mask. I refused, thinking that if it were faulty, instant death would ensue.' A small wood or spinney stretched behind the van and extended along, behind the shops, and back into the distance as far as Orchard Grove.

Central Library, Bromley



Gas Mask Testing Van, War Memorial, 1939




oil on canvas laid on panel


H 25.4 x W 30.5 cm

Accession number

LDBMP: 2006.23.2

Acquisition method

gift from the artist, 2006

Work type



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Central Library, Bromley

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