Monday 6 December 2010

Mappy Monday - Air raid precautions

This map is a bit of an oddity, and not the sort of thing I usually collect; I'm not usually interested in anything less than a century old, but the street names caught my eye. The area shown is only a few hundred yards from where I used to live.

It dates from the Second World War, and it shows the homes of the ARP (Air Raid Precautions) Wardens and the fire hydrants, and there are other markings that I can't identify (cue historian's chant 'Sorry, not my period').

Kenton is part of Harrow, which used to be surrounded by Middlesex countryside, but by the 1930s was an outer London suburb. As far as I know most of the houses and shops featured in the map were built in the 1920s and 1930s, and survived the bombing raids. It's part of the area immortalised by John Betjeman as Metroland. The house I lived is was built in 1936, and during the war years was occupied by a builder. He didn't think much of the government-issue Anderson shelters, so he got his men in to put a proper brick and concrete shelter under the garden. I know this because his daughter, a young child during the war, told me. Presumably it's still there, but it would need Time Team with their geo-phys and helicopters to pinpoint it. I made sure that the new owners knew about it when we sold the house.


  1. The map is great to begin with, but what a wonderful story as well!

  2. NOW THAT is a most unusual map. Thanks for sharing!

    My WWII story is that when I was in high school, we used the US Civil Defense First Aid Handbook for our first aid class in gym. As I recall the copyright date was in the early 1940s. Our gym teacher tore out the chapter on childbirth -- an interesting sign of that earlier time. Guess teenagers were considered to young to worry about that sort of thing.