An Interactive Map of the Blitz: Where and When the Bombs Fell on London

The extent of the campaign is shocking.

Image
Herbert Mason

The terrible density of bombs that fell on London during the Blitz — the prolonged Nazi bombing campaign that lasted from September 1940 to May 1941, and killed 40,000 civilians nationwide — is well-known. The city endured, at one point, 57 consecutive nights of air strikes.

To really appreciate the scope of the attacks, though, you must explore the Bomb Sight Map, a project that plots the records of the Bomb Census Survey on a digital map of London. The interactive project, produced by Jisc in collaboration with Portsmouth University and the National Archives, shows the location and type of every bomb that fell on Greater London between October and June, along with links to accompanying photographs and other resources.

It's the first time such a large part of the gargantuan resource at the National Archives has been published online, and the extent of the bombing as a space-time composite is staggering. It makes it easy to appreciate how miraculous the unscathed dome of St. Paul's Cathedral was, captured through the smoke, in what became the iconic image of the period.

Top image: Herbert Mason via Wikimedia Commons.

About the Author

  • Henry Grabar is a freelance writer and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.