Bomb Sight: explore London during the Blitz

For the past few months I've been part of a team working on a project that's helping make available information about where bombs fell in London during the period of World War II known as The Blitz.

Secret until 1972Records and maps from the WWII Bomb Census survey 1940-1945 have been available at the National Archives in Kew since they were declassified in 1972. The public has been able to access the original records there if they knew what they were looking for, and can get to Kew to visit the archives (something that's well worth doing, if you get a chance) but the maps hadn't been available online... until today.

Bomb SightThe Bomb Sight website launched today to make this information more accessible to the public. Covering the period between 7th October 1940 to 6th June 1941, you can find out where bombs fell during the Blitz and also access photos and stories that relate to that area during the war.

The project was funded as part of the JISC Content Programme to digitise a subset of the maps and make them available online - in both raster and vector forms - and provide a mobile augmented reality interface to explore where bombs fell in the area around you.

The main bomb damage map is the place to start exploring. Zoom out to get an idea of how badly hit each and every part of London was, or zoom in to an area (e.g. bombs falling near Tower Bridge) to see more detail.

You may want to use the layers menu to switch from the modern map to the original maps used to record bomb locations.

You can click through to see a little more information about each bomb (e.g. these two east and west of Tower Bridge) and see related information about the area.

You can also explore statistics for all areas of London down to a borough (e.g. Southwark) and ward level (e.g. Riverside, Southwark).

Keep an eye out for the Android app I'm working on for the project, which will be coming soon. In the mean time, you can already explore an area using your phone, simply by visiting bombsight.org in your browser.

If you're interested in the work we've been doing with the project, follow us on Twitter @BombSightUK, and please help spread the word to others who may be interested in exploring London's past. You can also read some more information about the work over the past year in the project blog.