Magazine article Geographical

The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945

Magazine article Geographical

The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945

Article excerpt

THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL BOMB DAMAGE MAPS 1939-1945

by Laurence Ward; Thames & Hudson; 48 [pounds sterling] (hardback)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Maps guide and delight, but seldom shock. This memorable publication is built around the 110 hand-coloured Ordnance Survey maps that were used to record the aerial destruction inflicted on London during the Second World War. A poignant, six-colour palette ranging from black for 'total destruction' to yellow for 'minor blast damage' records the impact at each site. The effect of these maps on a peace-time browser is all the more intense because the 1:2,500 scale personalises every neighbourhood. Individual buildings are shown, along with street names, park pavilions and public lavatories. London looks naked.

There are some terrible clusters. One small part of Peckham was struck by five V-1 'Doodlebug' flying bombs and a V-2 rocket. In Deptford, so many rows of terraced houses are coloured red, purple or black that you search in vain for an undamaged street. A swathe of central London north from the river past St Paul's Cathedral and Aldersgate to Clerkenwell is blocked in the purple of 'damaged beyond repair'. …

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