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For 267 days during the Second World War, around 100 tonnes of high explosives were dropped on cities all over the UK, most of which was centred on London from September 7th 1940 until May 1941.
Nowadays, although the Blitz stirs up images of traditional British stoicism in the face of extreme adversity, many people do not realise the sheer scale of bombs dropped over 71 separate nights, 57 of which were consecutive. The brutal Luftwaffe campaign claimed the lives of nearly 20,000 people and damaged more than 1 million homes in the capital alone.
A remarkable interactive map created by Bomb Sight documents the World War 2 bomb census collected between October 1940 and June 1941. For modern-day Londoners, it provides a vivid picture of where exactly was hit and allows you to home in on specific areas. Would your home or workplace have survived the onslaught?
Quite remarkably, zooming out on the Bomb Sight map displays the capital smothered in red dots, showing the extent of the raids throughout the Blitz period. Pretty much every area was struck at some point, amplified when the Luftwaffe began to attack civilian areas as well as strategic targets.
The East End suffered badly, being the location of the notable docklands which held logistical advantages for the British war effort. Surrounding buildings near these ports were targeted further, notably along Victoria Dock Road and north towards Canning Town. Other areas seriously damaged include Holborn, Bloomsbury and Pimlico, whilst around 40% of housing was completely destroyed in Stepney.
The night of the 29th December 1940 witnessed a particularly heavy night of shelling where over 120,000 bombs were dropped. This resulted in a fire stretching from St. Paul’s Cathedral to the Guildhall building, causing more damage than during the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Many iconic buildings were severely damaged by the onslaught also, with landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Whitehall and the National Gallery all hit by the relentless Luftwaffe bombing squadrons.
Naturally, the outer areas of London with fewer buildings weren’t targeted with such ferocity. However, solitary hits recorded on the interactive map show bombs struck as far north as Hertfordshire all the way down to Kent.
Despite the apparent swarm of red dots around the city centre, certain areas evaded the full force Hitler’s attacks and remained seemingly untouched. In fact, there are numerous stories of buildings remaining intact whilst their immediate surroundings had been demolished to a pile of rubble.
During air raids, civilians would usually congregate in underground tube stations, generally considered the safest place to shield during the chaos overhead. This wasn’t always the case however, with notable damage to such stations as Balham, Bank and Marble Arch causing multiple deaths in the process.
By checking out the interactive Bomb Sight map, you can explore which areas suffered direct damage in more detail by clicking on individual bomb markings.
Each area of London has its unique history that’s waiting to be discovered and it’s always something we look out for when choosing an office location. We currently have a number of managed offices in Soho that are ready for you and your business.