Interactive map shows where Blitz bombs hit

Screenshot - Interface - Zoom Out London web

This screenshot shows the devastation the Blitz brought to London

A new interactive map of London showing where German bombs landed over the course of eight months during World War II gives new meaning to the word Blitz.

The entire greater city from Egham in the west to Dartford in the east, and from Potters Bar in the north to Caterham in the south appears to be obliterated by the red bomb symbols used to illustrate where a dropped bomb landed.

The year-long mapping project, Jisc-funded Bomb Sight, which has just been launched, was devised by geographer Dr Kate Jones, of the University of Portsmouth, and colleagues.

She said: “When you look at these maps and see the proliferation of bombs dropped on the capital it does illustrate the meaning of the word Blitz, which comes from the German meaning lightening war.

“It seems astonishing that London survived the onslaught.

“The Bomb Sight project demonstrates the clustering together of lots of different data using the power of geography.”

Dr Jones chose to focus on the period of the most intensive bombing period in London during WWII, the Blitz. In that period, Germany’s Luftwaffe killed thousands and destroyed more than a million homes. The Blitz ended, and with it the fear of a Nazi invasion, in May, 1941 when it became apparent that Britain’s spirit would not be broken.

The Bomb Sight project uses a slightly longer time-frame for mapping what bombs fell where because it uses maps of the London WWII bomb census, taken between October 1940 and June 1941 and until now only available to view in the Reading Room at The National Archives.

The locations of the bombs have been combined with geo-located photographs from the Imperial War Museum and geo-located memories from the BBC’s WW2 People’s War Archive.

Users can manipulate the map and zoom into specific streets or boroughs as well as find out what type of bomb was dropped where.

Dr Jones won funding from Jisc to establish the project and has made the website and app available for public use to allow everyone, particularly students and teachers in schools and universities and citizen researchers to discover where the bombs fell and to explore memories and photographs from the period.

Paola Marchionni Jisc programme manager said: “Bomb Sight is a fantastic resource and it shows the power of what is possible by mashing up content from that resides in different places. The original Blitz maps have been scanned and geo-referenced thanks to the National Archive and testimonials from the BBC have been incorporated together with historical images from the Imperial War Museum to create an interactive teaching and learning resource that is similar to a map sat nav. There will be an augmented reality and mobile version available in December making the resource even more interactive.”

The website allows people to find out where and what sort of bombs fell in their area, and explore photos and stories from those involved or affected by the war.

The associated Android app also gives users an augmented reality view which allows users to point their phone at a street scene and, using the phone’s camera and GPS, the app will display the bombs that fell nearby.

Visit the website at http://bombsight.org/

7 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Link to the bombsite.org is not working. Can you advise on alternative access?

  2. Hi Carol, the site is failing under the weight of traffic, It comes back intermittently and it is worth trying again in a few minutes (it’s live at the moment).

  3. In order to help explain the problems people may be having using the website, this might help explain the current problems:
    Last week the website had about 80 page views a day and at 1pm today the website had received 67,000 unique visits, of which 46,000 have been today.

  4. couldn’t blow upo map rto see bomb rthat flattened my house in tottenham

  5. Great site, you hear all the stories from people that experienced it at first hand but this site enables you to get a deeper understanding how life was, the people lost and homes gone.

  6. Brilliant work – thnaks for all of your efforts.

    I picked up the following comments on the acuracy of your maps that may be of interest off of our local community website eastdulwichforum.co.uk

    Clive

    Re: See where the bombs fell on London
    Posted by ianr 09 December, 2012 23:33

    > I have looked at this Website but the sites mentioned are not precise, the sites that I saw then were blocks away from those marked

    I’ve seen enough people saying this to have me wondering whether there is a systematic error in their geomapping software.

    In fact, if you look at this page, [bombsight.org], they are fairly upfront about some possible sources of error that may exist in their different data sources. But I do trust that they’ve checked that the process transforming the original data records to the maps we’ve been given hasn’t introduced any further error.

    There is presumably scope for checking the original data records against clear recollections of folk like computedshorty. Perhaps such work has already been done. Anyone who comes across any academic papers relevant to this project, please do mention them here.

    Options: Reply To This Message•Quote This Message
    Re: See where the bombs fell on London
    Posted by computedshorty 10 December, 2012 10:01

    There are not a lot of people that are still alive to confirm the actual sites. It looks to me that a transparent film had been overlaid on the map then the sites added, as they are to my memory being at least 400 yards to the right of the sites shown.
    My father was one of the Civil Defence Wardens at the Dulwich Library, he was a very precise man so marking a map would be dead on. Taking on the fact that his own home was damaged so close to the Library would mean he would be aware at the time even if not on duty.
    Betweeen Crystal Palace Road and Goodrich Road the site I am talking about is mostly in Landcroft Road where five houses were very badly damaged, ( they have now been only four house built to replace them )
    The site extended to Lordship Lane where the backs and tops of the houses were damaged.
    The site can be seen as vacant in the Google maps, and in others show the new houses, and the damaged ones, and rebuilt, back additions and roofs, chimney stacks of a more simple style replaced, ( no chimney Pots on top ) of those in Lordship Lane.
    There are records to be seen at the Council Offices in the Boro, but I am not able to get there.

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    Re: See where the bombs fell on London
    Posted by Marmora Man 10 December, 2012 16:28

    Certainly the bomb that fell on the boundary between my house and that of the adjoining Therapia Road is not recorded in the correct spot – the nearest red blob being approximately 100 yards too far west.

  7. Looked up Bombsite.org for the 5 addresses I’ve lived in London. The sites all give the wrong address ! Mainly the wrong area and postcode – some over 3 miles away from the actual bomb site. Ie. Bomb in Sandy Lane,Richmond (where I know live) gives the address as Ham ? Ham is about 3 mile away on the other side of the Thames. Sandy Lane is actually in Hampton WIck, Teddington ??? and Norwood High Street SE27 is shown as Streatham Hill, SE19 ??

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