Sunday, 3 May 2009

Scope and aims of this blog

In 1940, London found itself at the frontline of the Second World War. By 1945, a third of its housing stock was destroyed, and over a million people were homeless. Central and local government kept records of this devastation, many of which can be found in the National Archives and London Metropolitan Archives.

In 1945, The London County Council commissioned maps detailing the nature and extent of bomb damage throughout the capital. Future posts will examine some of this material, and how it can be combined with modern mapping and information technology to improve our understanding of London’s wartime experience, and the lasting effects on our city.

Life in the capital continued throughout the war, and important work was undertaken to support the war effort. Deep below Smithfield Market, future Nobel laureate, Max Perutz, was working on the top-secret Project Habbakuk (sic). In future posts, I hope to recreate some of the experiments, and explain some of the science and history behind them.

Meanwhile, whilst most of London’s colleges and universities evacuated to places of relative safety, Birkbeck College kept functioning throughout the war, right in the heart of London. In the 50’s, classics professor, E. H. Warmington, recalled Birkbeck’s wartime experience. I will use excerpts of his work to retell Birkbeck’s wartime story for a modern audience.

I have been meaning to write about this for a while, so when I had to create a blog for an assignment for Birkbeck’s News on the Net course, it seemed the ideal opportunity.


  1. Looks like an interesting project. Only trouble is all the god-bothering websites that come up in the Google ads because of the name.

  2. Yeah, the ads made me LOL. They came up after the first post, which was a biblical quote. They've now been joined by a variety of other ads:

    The title is a mis-spelling of "Habakkuk", but is how Geoffrey Pyke spelled it in his codename for the project. So hopefully, Google should recognise it in that context rather than the religious ones eventually, when I have more text to inform it.

    Of course they might get even more violent when I blog about shooting at the stuff.

    I don't expect I'll make money out of Adsense, but at least it's entertaining me at the moment.