Tuesday 1 October 2013

Anderson shelter

With the new extension about to be built, we decided to open up the Anderson (air raid) shelter. Built around the same time as the house, which was completed in 1939 just as the Second World War was about to begin, it has been abutting the patio for the last couple of decades and possibly had a life as a rudimentary garden shed before that, judging by the rusting tools the boys found in the shelter. There is a three foot drop from the path down to a "vestibule" into which you had to crouch, then a turn and a further drop of about four feet to the interior of the shelter itself. I suspect this brick-lined "vestibule" is not original and was formed as a cornerstone when the patio was built between the rear of the house and the shelter, sometime in the 1990s or thereabouts, before we moved in.

The Anderson shelter probably stood on its own at the time of its construction, as the garden would have been immature to non-existent, and was probably accessed directly through the end wall. Its simple construction comprised a barrelled concrete roof arching over a concrete box. It goes well below the level of the surrounding garden and presumably would have contained some form of seating such as benches to provide a degree of comfort. We'll never know if it was used; if the original owners huddled inside by candlelight as bombers droned over the Pentlands on their way to bombing the Forth Bridge and blitzing the shipyards and docks at Leith and Newhaven.

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