Anyone who was in London on July 7 2005 knows how terrifying it is to be in a city under attack. Even miles away from the blasts, the fear that gripped the city that day will, for most of us, never be matched. But for the older generation, there are scarier memories still. In the eight months following September 7 1940, London was subjected to 71 separate aerial bombings by the Luftwaffe, during which some 20,000 civilians were killed and more than a million homes destroyed.
Horrifying though they are, the numbers will never give us an adequate idea of how it might have felt to live under constant threat of such horrific violence. But Bomb Sight does. It’s a new interactive mapping project built around data from official government records, with images and information attached to some of the thousands of red location markers. Each of which, almost unbelievably, denotes the site of a WWII bomb.
Zoomed to UK level, the markers completely blot out a city that surely should have been obliterated. Zoom right in and they’re still alarmingly concentrated – 20 in Covent Garden, 26 in the area where the Olympic Park now stands and dozens within spitting distance of Time Out’s Tottenham Court Road offices. Even further out, towards the suburbs, the barrage’s footprint is terrifyingly broad, with bombs dropped as far out as Dartford, Epping, Hatfield and Shepperton.
Tap in your postcode and give it a go for yourself – chances are the nearest red marker is no more than a few metres from where you’re sat right now. David Clack
Check out bombsight.org.