Inside The Anderson Shelter

A few posts ago I mentioned our Anderson Shelter which had been put up in our Digging For Victory Garden.

Les has very kindly taken a couple of photos of the interior where they have items like a thermos flask, a lantern and a blanket. Items that would be invaluable during the long hours spent in the shelter during air raids. If the income of the household was below £5 per week the government gave the shelter for free. If the income was more than that the family had to pay £7. By September 1939 over 1.5 million shelters had been issued.

The shelters measured 1.95m by 1.35m, and were made from 6 sheets of corrugated iron bolted together at the top. There were steel plates at either end and the front entrance would have an earthen blast wall. They were not popular as they were damp and cold and also the people in them could hear all the bombs going off around them. But they did save many lives.

As the air raids on the large cities in the U.K became a nightly occurrence people began to go down to the shelter in their gardens, or a public shelter if they didn't have their own as soon as it became dark. They knew that at sometime during the night the air raid siren would go off and wake them up so they may as well try to get some sleep in the shelter.

Those that didn't have a garden could have had a Morrison Shelter. This was a large "cage" that would be used as a table during the day. They were made from a steel top with wire mesh on the sides with one side that could open as an entrance. They were 2m long, 1.2m wide and just 75cm tall. Over 500,00 were made and were given free to families with an income under £350 a year. They were not built to survive a direct hit, but would certainly save lives from rubble falling from a local hit.

Anderson shelters were also used out of the cities as the bombers would often release their unused bombs anywhere on their flight homewards.

Many of these shelters survive in gardens to this day. 


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