New website shows where bombs fell in Camden during Second World War

PUBLISHED: 17:24 18 December 2012

Air raid damage at Camden Town station. This view shows the Camden High Street facade, October 17 1940  COURTESY: London Transport Museum

Air raid damage at Camden Town station. This view shows the Camden High Street facade, October 17 1940 COURTESY: London Transport Museum


As air sirens went off and bombs fell over a blacked out city during the Second World War, families piled into Swiss Cottage and Belsize Park Tube stations waiting out the roar of explosions overhead.

The website has an interactive map showing all the World War Two Blitz bomb sites in CamdenThe website has an interactive map showing all the World War Two Blitz bomb sites in Camden

Thousands of people died in Camden during the Blitz, in which bombs were dropped on London by German Luftwaffe planes from September 1940 to May 1941.

One attack included bomber planes flying over the city for 57 consecutive days.

A new website now charts where each bomb fell across London from October 7, 1940 to June 6, 1941.

Charting the destruction the air strikes left in their wake, it paints a stark picture of Camden which was rebuilt after hundreds of family homes were bombed to smithereens.

Historian Dr Robin Woolven, who contributed to a book about the Second World War in Camden, explained that in London, each borough kept a map of where the missiles fell so the Disposal Unit could keep track of unexploded bombs.

He said: “It was the Ministry of Home Security that started to plot the impact points of bombs after each raid and these were put on tracing paper and fitted over the base maps.

“They could analyse what was falling when and track the development of enemy weapons and how they were used.”

Today’s online map was put together based on these original borough reports, which previously were only ever available in The Reading Rooms at the National Archives.

Each little red dot on the website holds behind it a tale of human tragedy, and zoomed out, becomes part of a bigger picture that shows the scale of destruction across the capital.

On the corner of West End Lane and Dennington Park Road, where the West Hampstead Library now stands, tragedy struck twice.

The red mark says only that a “high explosive bomb” was dropped during the Blitz.

Little else is known about that first attack, but three years later, a wedding party in the same spot was hit. Ten people were killed including two babies.

The only family member to survive was the father of the young soldier who was getting married later that day.

It is just one tragic story of many. Memories abound of piling into Tube stations that were eventually fitted with toilets and bunk beds, to make the fearful waiting more bearable, to ghostly reminders of buildings that once were, and families that are no more.

Local historian Michael Hammerson pointed to a spot by the railway in Highgate Woods where faint traces of England’s defence effort against the major attacks are still visible.

“The railway going by Highgate Wood was a target for bombers and we tried to stretch a chain of barrage balloons to stop the planes flying down too low,” he explained.

“When the weather is hot and the grass is dry, you can see traces in the concrete under the grass, where the balloons used to be.”

Though there is little explanation behind the red dots on the website, a walk down a street riddled with bomb marks online, tells part of the story that you can still see today.

As Dr Robin Woolven explained, website users can “learn about the history of their neighbourhood, and, if the plot is accurate, about particular properties.”

The huge database, never fully available online, shows destruction across London and the war effort, from the ground-up. To find out more, see

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:58

A man has been convicted over the “senseless” stabbing of a Dutch man in Camden Lock in 2016.

Yesterday, 17:04

Camden Council will correct a sign that says a park will be closed every day at dusk, despite it having no way to shut it.

Yesterday, 13:01

A Cumbrian couple have been left scared for their property after receiving a bailiff’s letter demanding council tax for a Maida Vale property they have no connection to.

Yesterday, 12:26

Barnet Council has apologised to residents after bungled changes to bin collections saw households going nearly two weeks without having them emptied

Yesterday, 10:41

Keir Starmer has said the government’s approach to Universal Credit is similar to the “hostile environment” policy that led to the Windrush scandal.

Yesterday, 09:52

A passing mechanic saved the day after a “rogue Diwali firework” set the roof of a Hornsey bar on fire a week ago last Thursday.

Tue, 16:30

The Phoenix Cinema will hold a meeting on fundraising for the historic cinema this weekend.

Tue, 13:14

A special interfaith Remembrance Sunday parade in Highgate saw attendees from across faiths and generations join together to pay their respects to those who fought and died in the First World War.


Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now