Flying bombs and the blitz in Kings Cross

Bomb_damage_map The Kings Cross area was hit by four V1 flying bombs during the second world war and suffered several other heavy hits from aircraft.  Bombing was mapped during the war by the LCC architects.  In a clumsy way I have transposed the original beautifully hand coloured maps onto Google maps at this link here.  The flying bombs are marked with triangles on the map.  For security reasons, the maps didn’t record the bombs that hit St Pancras and Kings Cross Stations.

It makes it easy to see what influenced the pattern of post war social housing.  Some terraced streets were replaced in a hurry by estates like Tiber Gardens and the old Naish Court.  Other areas were either patched up or limped on as bombsites until the 1970s. 

It starts to be clear that it wasn’t just the 1960s and 70s town planners who demolished the grid pattern – some streets were bombed out of existance, possibly with heavy loss of life.  Two flying bombs landing within 500 yards of each other (the circles in the picture above) might well make you want to start again.  I shall do some research into press coverage at the time – if anyone remembers this or  has a relative who does drop me a line.  If you want to see the original maps they are held in the neighbourhood at the London Metropoltian Archive in Finsbury near Exmouth Market.  If anyone wants to do their own personal research but can’t get there i have put some large photos of the two maps in the album here.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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6 Responses to Flying bombs and the blitz in Kings Cross

  1. Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

    Brilliant post. I think I also read somewhere that the old Royal Mail post office on Kings Cross Road was destroyed by the Blitz (it was a post office with some adjoining shops), this is why on the South side of Percy Rd (junction Kings Cross Rd) we have the beautiful old magistrate court (now a temporary youth hostel) and on the North side the Royal Scott (Travelodge) complex, which is an interesting as well as ugly 1960s structure that seems a little out of place. I always think that under modern urban landscape conventions, the Royal Scott’s front facing Kings Cross Rd, ought to be modernized to a more fitting scenario, perhaps with grant aid one day.

  2. maggie sent me the following by email

    >>Think there’s another site – No2 Richmond Avenue was bombed during the Second World War. It was to the west of 4 Richmond Avenue, and we have found fused brick, glass and debris in the gardens behind Nos4.-12. I’ve not yet searched the LCC maps or archives at Islington, but was first told that this was a bomb site about 25 years ago. Most of the brick rubble from the original house remains on the site, which is about to be developed. After the war, the site was roughly cleared and then used as a right of way until a few year’s ago. I was also told that the mound under the cherry trees in Thornhill Square was where a barrage balloon was tethered during the war.
    Maggie McDonald
    Richmond Avenue Housing Co-op

  3. Tobias Newland says:

    Interesting post. Haven’t mentioned the bombings on the south east corner of Argyle Square which destroyed the Swedenbourgian Chapel there. There was also another bombing on Cromer Street which resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people. An account of one of the survivors is included on the Argyle Square Sound Trail. I think these are two seperate bombsites but am not absolutely sure.

  4. Dave says:

    Am I right in thinking the PH to the left of the map is the Backpackers / Cross Kings, pretty much the only building that survived it would seem!

    Also interesting to see that the street names had changed since 1862: Rivers Street = Tiber Street, Sydney Street = Dennis Street, Bath Place = Carlsblad Street, William Street = Copenhagen.

  5. Gail says:

    I sm fascinated about the history of this area as believe that my great great grandfather, Joseph John Zanetti owned a restraunt in the area and wondered whether this had been bombed too. I have very little detail,except that it was near Kings Cross. If anyone has any recollection of this or if it is on any of the maps I would love to know more about this? Or any ideas on how I can go about finding out more information?

    Thanks for your help!

    Gail Dee

    • kim cummins says:

      I have found a Giuseppe Zanetti living at 223 Greys Inn road in 1927 which is just in front of Kings Cross Station
      in the 1911 census the following family are shown to live at 8 mount pleasant which is in the right area hae a look do any of these names ring a bell? He was married for 12 years at this point and He was born in ~Italy however his wife and children are English.
      Giuseppe Zanetti 38 (mosaic worker)
      Eliza Zanetti 35
      Matilda Zanetti 6
      Vitorio Zanetti 3
      Antonio Zanetti 1
      Then again I have found a JOHN ZANETTI married to a Clara living at 57 Warren St in 1904 with a child called Flora Ida and he is stated as being a chef. Warren St is about 15 min from Kings Cross
      This is most likely your relative I have found him again in the l911 census living at15 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, Islington N and he is a restaurant owner
      .Giovanni Zanetti 42
      Lily Zanetti 11
      Laurance Zanetti 9
      Nellie Zanetti 8
      Flora Zanetti 6
      Nellie Bunning 32 Barmaid
      Gioseppe Chierza Kitchen Porter. The spelling is how they put it on the census I would imagine this is the restaurant you are talking about and the family lived above the shop.. In 1901 He was with Clara and Lilly at 66 castle street Holborn which again is not far. He had his job stated as cook in kitchen. He was down as JOHN ZANETTI Clara may have died in 1918. So he worked his way up in a very short time well done.
      I hope that this helps you,( the first family may be relatives)
      You can get in touch with Camden Archives and they may have more to help you.

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