In the last blog post we covered how to build a detailed picture of the bombing of Manchester during the Second World War; we briefly touched on 1930s aerial bomb maps, which we are going to explore in a little more detail here.

They are annotated 1930s Ordnance Survey maps, accompanied by index cards that record the location of aerial bombs which caused damage to the City of Manchester. Originally used by the City Architect’s Department, the maps show fire bombs as red dots, high explosives as blue dots and line mines as green dots. Red shaded buildings represent demolished buildings while pink shaded buildings were damaged but still standing.

The original volume containing the maps (ref GB127.MISC/1192) is held by Manchester Archives at the Greater Manchester County Record Office but it is fragile, heavy and difficult to produce. They were digitised in September by the Centre for Heritage and Collection Care (CHICC),  using a Phase One 1Q180 and took around 4 – 5 hours to photograph.

You can now view the maps and zoom in to street level online through the University of Manchester Image Collection. Martin Dodge of the University of Manchester explains on his blog how the maps were discovered in the Town Hall Extension in 2011. Martin has also created a really good stitched together version of the city centre maps.

The first map shows a  heavily bombed area of the city centre, the second is a close up showing damage to the Free Trade Hall and Manchester Central Library.


gb127.misc close up of city centre

CHICC have also blogged about the bomb maps. The Imperial War Museum North are holding a 20 minute walk and talk ( 3 – 31 December 2012) to explore the theme of the Second World War Blitz on Britain.

You can find links to all of our digitised map resources including the bomb maps on our website. Home security information summaries for the Manchester District can be found on our Flickr and over 400 photographs of Manchester during the war can be found at the Manchester Local Image Collection.