London Bomb Damage Maps

The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps 1939-1945

  1. Laurence Ward
  • ISBN 9780500518250
  • 36.50 x 26.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 288pp
  • With 195 illustrations in colour and black and white
  • First published 2015
‘Astonishing’– William Boyd’s Book of the Year in the Times Literary Supplement 2016
‘Though there is no florid prose or gripping anecdotes, these maps are not mute. This A-Z of destruction tells a powerful story’– The Times
‘An amazing visual record of what happened to London in the war … fascinating’ – Timeout
‘This A-Z of atrocity – which includes 70 stunning photographs of the ruined City – has a terrible beauty’– Evening Standard, Books of the Year
'A handsome folio … [the maps'] utility has been hugely enhanced by presentation in this new format, spacious, scholarly and visually compelling'– Times Literary Supplement
‘Beautifully designed, with all illustrations, be they the maps, old documents or the photographs reproduced to the absolute highest standard … a pleasure to handle’– Reference Reviews


This landmark publication offers an invaluable graphic representation of the bombardment of London during the Second World War – one of the most dramatic episodes in the history of the city – complete with archival photographs and tables of often grim statistics.

Between 1939 and 1945, London and its environs experienced destruction on a huge scale, with air raids and rocket attacks reducing buildings and entire streets to rubble. The London County Council Bomb Damage Maps speak of the human experience of war — of loss and camaraderie, of tragedy and heroism — conjuring up the days of blackout and the 'Spirit of the Blitz'. They tell a story, moreover, that was echoed in towns and cities across Britain and throughout the world.

The maps, meticulously hand-coloured to document the level of damage being wrought, represent a key record of the destruction, the impact of which can still be seen in the capital’s urban and social landscapes. Featuring new, high-quality images of each of the 110 maps that make up the set, this book marks the first time these remarkable documents – part historical artifacts, part social history – have been published for a general audience.

Laurence Ward, one of the principal archivists at London Metropolitan Archives, sets the maps in the full historical context of the terrible events that gave rise to them.

Also included is a series of extraordinary photographs of the damage done to the City of London in particular, taken with a sympathetic yet unflinching eye by police constables Arthur Cross and Fred Tibbs.

Laurence Ward is principal archivist (image, film and map collections) at London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). He has managed exhibitions at LMA and other London venues since 2010, and in 2011 was the curator of 'Mapping the London Blitz,' which featured the London County Council Bomb Damage Maps together with many other items from the LMA’s collections. He is a long-standing member of the London’s Screen Archives steering group and a committee secretary for the International Council on Archives.