The London County Council
Bomb Damage Maps, 1939-45

 

Parts of these maps are used for non-commercial purposes in the website by permission of the London Metropolitan Archives. The LMA are also happy to allow schools to make further copies of the maps, again providing that they are for educational purposes only. Commercial reproduction is prohibited without prior permission from London Metropolitan Archives.

The book is available for on-line purchase from www.parishregister.com

These invaluable maps were made by the London County Council immediately after the Second World War. It became the basis for the Abercrombie Plan for the Rebuilding of London.

Coloured areas show the widespread bomb damage while the different colours indicate its severity. Some houses were repaired; others patched up temporarily. Even those houses not bombed, deteriorated because there could be little maintenance during the war and were in need of care an attention.


This map and other smaller sections reproduced elsewhere,
are taken with permission, from

The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945.

Copies of any particular area can be obtained, for private or school use,
from London Metropolitan Archives who own the copyright.


Comparing these coloured Bombing Maps
with my original back and white photo-copies.

Over forty years ago I found these maps in the lower basement at County Hall, where the sharks now swim. The Architects Department kindly made me black and white photocopies and I used them in several books. Architects, alerted by my bomb maps, have used them to explain why houses built on forgotten bomb sites, have begun to subside, so the photocopies have been of practical use. In one case an architect, who contacted me, called in to explain a subsiding house, was fifteen feet down and still bringing up complete window frames. Clearly the site had become a huge bomb crater which had been used as a rubble tip, levelled and forgotten.

However, I now realise that my maps can tell a false story. The originals are coloured and unfortunately the old photocopiers did not copy the reds. They showed red as white. Therefore areas which were;-

  • Dark Red Seriously damaged; doubtful if repairable
  • Light Red Seriously damaged, but repairable at cost,

came out on the photocopies as white. The centres of damage are marked on the maps in Black, Purple and Dark Red, with rings of lighter colours around them. Areas which I have been ignoring for years because they were white, had been, in fact, very badly damaged. Often the coloured maps give a completely different account of any particular bombing incident from my old black and white copies.

The new book called The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps, 1939-1945, ISBN 0 902087 51 7, pub. 2005, is a splendid production and will be consulted as long as London lives. The area on the map around any particular school is only a few centimetres square, but explains the old and new houses on the school doorstep as no other map or writing can do. Walking along the road becomes a never-ending detective story.


Example: The Bombing of Albion Road

The whole area was very heavily bombed from September 1940. Incendiary bombs and high explosives early on, and a land mine fell on Albion Road at the junction with Hawkesley Road. Later, between 23 rd June 1944 and 10 the January 1945, there were no fewer than ten flying bombs and three V2s in the Finsbury Park to Albion Road area alone. Three local flying bombs fell on Defoe Road, Londesborough Road and the triangle by the shopping parade in Albion Road. The damage from these and other smaller events spread blast damage to other houses nearby, so that few houses escaped some effect of the bombs. Many houses were patched up and later repaired properly, but the major incidents led to the building of completely new blocks and even new estates. This bombing map is a key to the reason for many later developments.

The Flying Bomb on Albion Road Triangle

Colour Key References


Flying Bomb Damage
at Albion Rd Triangle

Black -Total destruction
Purple - Damaged beyond repair
Dark Red - Doubtful if repairable
Light Red - Seriously damaged, but repairable at cost
Orange - General blast damage, not structural
Yellow - Blast damage, minor in nature
O V1 flying bomb large circle
oV2 long range rocket.small circle

There will be slight variations in the colours because the original maps
are old and the colour balance on computer monitors will vary

 

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