Mapping out the Blitz

It’s been five years since we mapped out the Southampton Blitz, making it the 75th anniversary early next week.

The Southampton Blitz map we produced in 2010

The Southampton Blitz map we produced in 2010

Our map showed the bombs dropped on the city of Southampton at the peak of the Blitz on the nights of 30 November and 1 December 1940. Hundreds of tonnes of bombs were dropped during the two nights, destroying many properties and damaging hundreds more – including our former head office on London Road. 

We put the map together with the help of The National Archives and Southampton City Council, using OS OpenSpace to pinpoint where 712 of the bombs fell based on records from the time. We hoped that seeing the bomb sites overlaid on modern mapping, would help people better relate to the scale of the damage and the courage and suffering of those who lived through it.

Other British blitz cities mapped out

In 2012 the Bomb Sight website mapped out the World War Two bomb census for London, showing activity between 7 October 1940 to 6 June 1941. The project scanned original 1940s bomb census maps, geo-referenced the maps and digitally captured the geographical locations of all the falling bombs recorded on the original map. They’ve also created a great Android App with Augmented Reality view to reveal the locations of the bombs projected into the current urban landscape. 

We’ve also come across maps showing the affects of the bombing on Bristol, you can compare photos from past and present. Know Your Place is a big online map of Bristol. You can choose from a number of different historic maps from 1750 to a present-day Ordnance Survey sheet. Or you can look at a map of Bristol made from a 1946 aerial photographic survey which shows much of the bomb damage the city suffered.
Have you spotted any other cities that have been mapped out showing bomb fall from World War Two? Let us know on the blog if so.

In the meantime, you can still see our original blog post and a link to the interactive map.

3 Responses

  1. The Portsmouth data can be seen at portsmouthblitz.co.uk which has been around since 2010 and is currently being brought up to date to include an interactive map as opposed to the static data currently being shown.

    1. Hi

      We held a large paper-based archive of historical mapping until 2008. We then distributed it to other custodians based on our understanding of our remit, our intention to move to smaller premises and the special conditions in which archive maps and documents need to be preserved. There’s information on this page of places where historic mapping can now be viewed or purchased: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/resources/historical-map-resources/archive-info.html

      Many thanks

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