Friday, 10 September 2010

East End Blitz myth? II

There's still a question mark at the end of the post title - this is very much work in progress, and your comments are extremely useful in prodding me into looking at the evidence.

Chris writes in response to the previous post;

"Your definition of the East End must be different from mine; I've always considered the East End to start at Aldgate East and extend to the docks area but not much further beyond (which would be East London but not the East End)."


"The East End had a much higher housing density than the City (bugger all housing), central London (again, pretty much bugger all). Further out, the housing density is lower. So any raid on the docks would be likely to damage more housing than elsewhere."

Hmmm. For the first, I've highlighted the old London boroughs that Chris may consider the East End - but I've included Hackney in the North, which some may dispute. Secondly, the civilian deaths figures for each of the old boroughs is from the CWGC. Now of course this includes deaths from V1s and V2s later in the war, but if Chris' point about housing density is correct, I'd expect the 'East End' totals to be much higher. In fact, Stepney and Westminster look like they were hit equally hard. And five out of the six boroughs with over 1,000 dead are South of the river.

I need the areas of each borough to present the data as deaths/km2, and correlate this with the total bomb tonnage to present a conclusive answer.



Chris said...

Interesting, the numbers look OK-ish, but where are you getting the numbers from via the CWGC? I can't see it.

As you say, without the areas of each borough it could be misleading.

Raedwald said...

Chris - you need to manipulate the search function a bit

and so on.

Hackney/Stoke Newington resident, 1940. said...

Surely for anything approaching a conclusive answer you need the number of casualties per inhabitant? Per unit area will not correct for differing housing densities, which must have been a major factor.

Anonymous said...

Who would have thought back then that you lot would be vieing for victimhood rankings.

Raedwald said...

Anon -

And neither I imagine would they want the effects of Hitler's bombing campaign to be forgotten, or allow new generations to believe that it only affected a small part of London.

I live in outer Zone 2 in comfortable streets of Edwardian terraces. As I was preparing my front room wooden floor for sanding, I was puzzled at the small fragments of broken glass that clogged the grooves. At some stage, I thought, all the windows had been broken from the outside. Much later, looking at the bomb hits map, it became clear that a 'small' HE bomb had been dropped about 100m away. The crack in a gable wall there, and a rebuilt flank-terrace frontage, show that the effects are still all around us.

I can only imagine the dread, the fear, the stress that the sound of the sirens brought night after night to London, with everyone wondering 'will it be me?'. The point is, nowhere was 'safe', all of London was affected.

Let us never forget the horrors of aerial bombardment, or those thousands of ordinary lives of ordinary people, some good, some bad, most in between, as people are, cut short - all undeserved.

Bill Quango MP said...

Grandma Quango used to talk of a MINE hanging in the garden from a parachute. I thought she was a bit confused. I didn't realise it was actually a sea mine until I read about them years later. One ton of explosives, pressure detonated and the most damaging weapon in the German's arsenal.
Incendiary bombs took out her small garden and afterwards only blackberries would grow there.
This was Kilburn.

Nick Drew said...

of all the LBs, Croydon received the most hits from V-1s

by legend this is because they were aiming for the centre of London but the motors tended to cut out early (or were shot down)

but this only computes in terms of launches from the south (France), not from the Low Countries ...

(I have not researched this properly myself and only know what I have read)