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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 July, 2005, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
London bomb damage maps revealed
Bomb damage around St Paul's Cathedral
Purple: Damage beyond repair
Orange: Minor blast damage
Red: Serious damage
Official maps illustrating the scale of bomb damage to London in World War II are being published for the first time.

Damage caused by bombing raids and V1 and V2 missile attacks are illustrated in 110 maps, published in a book to mark the 60 years since the war ended.

Ordnance Survey maps were hand coloured to show damage to buildings from the start of the Blitz in 1940.

London Metropolitan Archives staff spent 80 hours scanning the originals for a "coffee table book".

Direct bombing of industrial targets and civilian centres began on 7 September 1940 with heavy raids on London and rapidly escalated.

That month the German Air Force dropped 5,300 tons of high explosives on London in just 24 nights.

Scene of doodlebug attack on Chapel Street, Tottington
British cities suffered sustained attacks from German bombers
Although the main bombing offensive against Britain diminished after May 1941, as the German focus switched to Russia, sporadic raids, using larger bombs, continued for years.

The maps were created in London County Council's architects department to show the severity of damage to individual buildings across 117 sq miles of London.

The colours range from black, to show total destruction, and purple illustrating damage beyond repair, to yellow for minor damage.

They were meant to help the rebuilding effort after the war ended.

But they do not show the damage to the House of Commons. Some have speculated it was a deliberate attempt to keep the success of strikes at the heart of government quiet.

The maps are still used by surveyors, engineers, geologists and family history researchers looking for information about certain sites.

They have been kept in good condition at the archives in Clerkenwell, where records of London dating back as far as 1067 are stored.

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