HO 192 - Ministry of Home Security: Research and Experiments Department, Registered Papers, General Survey of Damage in Great Britain (Birmingham).

The Research and Experiment Branch (R.E.B.), which first acquired the status of a department in June 1940 and was advised by a Civil Defence Research Committee of eminent scientists, arranged for the conduct of experiments and surveys for the Ministry of Home Security regarding various aspects of enemy bombing capacity, its impact, and the effectiveness of defence measures against it. In the autumn of 1941, realising that the lessons of previous raiding experience could have significant implications for the reduction of harm in future cases, a team of research workers and technical investigators were gathered and dispatched to Birmingham, which had been subjected to significant raiding from late 1940 to 1941, to carry out a set of enquiries into the effects of enemy attacks on the city.

Thirty-four full-time technical officers were engaged in the survey, under the direction of the regional headquarters of the R.E.B.'s Technical Intelligence Division (B Division), and were provided with additional field notes from organisations such as the Ministry of Information, the B.B.C., and various local government bodies. The objective of the survey, as stated in a summary report, was to collate information "concerning the effects of air raiding on Birmingham in the period November 1940 - April 1941", which "comprised:

  1. Weight of bombs dropped (total).
  2. Immediate effect of these bombs on the industrial activity of the city and district.
  3. The means and rate of industrial recovery.
  4. Effects of bombing, physically, psychologically and socially on the inhabitants.
  5. The means and rate of recovery of normal personal life and affairs." (HO 192/1182, p. 316)

Documenting "almost every phase of human activity" in the city, the Survey of Damage contains data and analysis on a broad range of subjects, including infrastructure and industry; casualties, damage, and the dispersal of populations as a result of air raids; social affairs and disruptive behaviours; and consumption and cultural life.

The records of the Birmingham War Damage Survey were selected for this resource as the most comprehensive and wide-ranging within the series HO 192, which contains various registered papers of the Research and Development Branch. Also included as part of the resource's regional selections are a photographic survey of bomb damage in Canterbury, and a report on the social and economic effects of raiding in Norwich.

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