Mapping WW2 in Hackney

Where: Jubilee Primary School
When: April 2014
Topic: History / WW2
Year group: 2 x Year 3 classes
Commissioned by

Mapping WW2 in Hackney

Understanding the impact of WW2 in our local area

Studying our local streets and community resources, year 3 children of Beech and Birch class answered the question – What do we value about our community? Their response: Parks, schools, hospitals, play centres, the joke shop, BMX’s and more… Places and activities which we regularly share with friends, family and neighbours… Ultimately, their answer represented the freedoms we enjoy in Hackney today and the happiness that brings.

Looking back to the 1940’s during WW2, we observed a different picture of life in Hackney. The borough suffered some of the most sustained bomb damage during the Blitz. We studied the effects of the war on everyday life and talked about how different it would have been for a child living in war times.

Applying their creative skills, the children expertly illustrated a 40cm square section of the Hackney map. Using acrylic paint, Birch class painted the left half of the display and Beech class the right.

With ipads, the children then explored the Bomb Site website, enabling them to locate and plot the bomb sites on their own painted map.

Using a circle motif, the children then cut brightly coloured, transparent vinyl into various sizes to represent the scale of the damage in each part of the borough – Some areas were hit by as many as 8 bombs in one location – So, the larger the circle, the greater the damage. Finally, placing the vinly on top of our painted maps, we were able to understand the impact the war had on our neighbourhood.

The final artwork presents the paintings which the children created, puzzled together to form a grid – A street for street map of our immediate area! Jubilee school is hi-lighted and the neighbouring roads identifiable with collaged lettering. The map presents an artistic interpretation of the damage caused during the Blitz. Ironically, it is this damage which also paved the way for growth and positive change in the borough. Our mid century housing developments side by side with the remaining terraces has allowed for increased cultural integration in the borough, making for the diverse and inclusive community we enjoy today.

Image gallery

“I was really impressed with the precision of some of the art work they were producing”

Teacher of Birch class

Stats about this project

Art techniques used:

  • Drawing 10% 10%
  • Painting 60% 60%
  • Mixed Media 20% 20%
  • Digital 10% 10%

Applied art disciplines

Number of participants