The Impact Of The Blitz On London

It can be hard sometimes to grasp just how much of an impact the Blitz had on London alone. Between September 1940 and 21 May 1941 London was subjected to major raids over seventy times, and suffered countless other minor attacks besides. In the capital alone, over one million homes were damaged and almost twenty thousand civilians killed.

All these are big numbers, but numbers alone are hard to truly visualise. As WW2 moves further and further away from living memory that blitz experience and effect thus becomes harder to truly understand and to imagine.

That’s not to say that some signs don’t remain. If you know what you are looking for then it is possible to spot where and how a particular street was affected by the Blitz (or by later attacks, such as by V1 or V2 rockets). To do so simply look for the gaps. They may have been filled with garages, or with sudden patches of grass or wasteland. They may have been filled with more housing of a noticeably different style or later design. Either way they’re there – and once you have realised they exist it suddenly becomes apparent just how many gaps there are.

Gaps aside though, understanding the incredible impact the Luftwaffe’s bombing had on London as a whole is most definitely tricky – even for historians. For this reason we heartily recommend taking a look at Bomb Sight. As the screenshot above illustrates, it draws together a number of bomb maps and marks them all out on Google Maps, making it possible to see the impact the Blitz had at a street level or zoom right out and see the cumulative effect on the capital as a whole. It is well worth a visit

The author

Editor of Lapsed Historian, John Bull is a journalist and a historian whose interests cover everything from the Classics through to the history of computing. He has a particular affection for obscure moments in history that have had a big impact, but which are today otherwise forgotten. In addition to writing about history, he also writes about London Transport for London Reconnections and on football for .

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