Back Garden Air Raid Shelters

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Steve G, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    Chris R has shown us his rather lovely Anderson Shelter, on this thread:

    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/other-research/22825-pillbox-bunker.html#post242949

    I believe it's about Post # 34 ?

    Anyway, that reminded me of the brick built shelters we used to have in Portsmouth back gardens. I grew up with one ~ till my Dad and a friend spent some quality man hours knocking it down. Next door, the older lady had hers till last I knew.

    Then, around twenty five years or so back, I met another guy who still had one. He'd have liked rid of it. But, when I explained the drama that would involve? He decided to leave well alone.

    My questions is; What were those ones called, 'etc'. ? They were pretty well uniform. Obviously constructed to a given plan. It's hard for me to visualise any exact details now. Except that they were built of bricks and had a (reinforced?) concrete roof.

    I can only add that the 'full sized' door always seemed to face the house. Ours had a small doorway / hole in the back. Escape hole, lest the house come down on the front? I never found one with any remnant of a 'front' door showing. Don't know what was used there. Nor did they ever appear to have been sunk or buried at all.

    Pretty much a square, brick built, block then. I'd imagine they'd have bunks along each side. I expect enough of them still exist, in Pompey. (James ....?) What were they all about, please?
     
  2. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    I'll have a look in some books and ask around at work Steve, I know the shelters you mean. I'm not sure how many still exist.

    My uncle used to have an Anderson shelter in his back garden, until he sold off half of his garden. Part of me would quite like to have something like that in the garden, something interesting to show the guests.
     
  3. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Still have the wreckage of an Anderson in next door's (left) garden,
    currently a vermin bunker for the 3rd Fox Division.

    The Anderson on the right side garden has been turned into a shed,
    using bricks and the corrugated iron sheeting.

    There's quite a few around here in peoples gardens
     
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    Building your own bomb shelter
     
  5. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    According to Portsmouth at War by Andrew Whitmarsh by October 1940 Portsmouth had 24,000 Anderson shelters, as well as 2,200 brick built shelters, 800 strengthened basements, communal shelters with capacity for 5,000 people, plus public shelters.

    There are some pictures in this book of the various types of air raid shelter seen in Portsmouth.
     
  6. ChrisR

    ChrisR Senior Member

    Here is one that was on ebay at the same time I bought mine. I passed on this one as it looked too much work to dig out and could have just been too rusty to re-use as a shed.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I also passed on this Morrison as a workbench for the garage - just didn't have room - shame.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    :huh: Peter; I've never seen that 'plan' before. Puts me in mind of something once known, over here, as a " Scalpe " :( I'd hate to think of having to hunker down in either, quite frankly.

    James; What rather intrigues me now is who built the brick ones. Residents, I s'pose? Wonder when / where / why they got the idea from? I'd imagine ~ them all seeming so uniform ~ they were made to a given blue print. I'd also guess they preceded the Anderson's. The latter being the answer to the sheer expense of erecting the brick ones?

    For the record; The ones I remember were in Pitcroft Road and Telephone Road. Working class homes of the time then, without exactly being bottom of the heap. They all have forecourts. Possibly a case of not getting blown up with the Jones's ;)

    Chris; In my experience of scrap metal, I'd say ye made a wise choice to have left that one in situ. Bet they had years of fun mowing that bugger! :lol:

    Shame about the Morrison. I'm looking out for a solid table myself. But that is a bit of a big'n, isn't it? Do well for holding my Home Brew kegs though! I'd have it stripped down and in my back room in no time!
     
  8. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    James; What rather intrigues me now is who built the brick ones. Residents, I s'pose? Wonder when / where / why they got the idea from? I'd imagine ~ them all seeming so uniform ~ they were made to a given blue print. I'd also guess they preceded the Anderson's. The latter being the answer to the sheer expense of erecting the brick ones?


    I think they were probably built to a standard design, for there to be 2,000 odd of them. It might be that there was a standard plan that was distributed that people could either build themselves or get a builder 'down the road' to build for them.

    Would be interesting to find out. I'm trying to think if I know anyone down Telephone Road way who can confirm, I dont fancy getting arrested for snooping on peoples back gardens for checking for air raid shelters :D
     
  9. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    I'm trying to think if I know anyone down Telephone Road way who can confirm, I dont fancy getting arrested for snooping on peoples back gardens for checking for air raid shelters :D


    Risky Business! :lol: Actually; I could tell ye what number in Pitcroft Rd the one 'next door' was still standing, last I knew. Only, that was 1969 and the lady who owned that house quite probably isn't still standing herself now.

    Ding! I was about to say something rambling (as I thought it) like; 'That's a shame. Because nor would her garden be, Or the shelter ~ most likely. And her garden was quiet enough that Blackbirds nested in the square hole at the top right (external facing) hole in the back of her shelter. " !

    Those shelters ~ or that one, at least ~ had a square hole let through them. In the back. Top right corner. Ventilation, I'd imagine? Very much like the Pill Box I detailed, over here.

    Damn, but I'd like to see a blue print for those things! More than that; I now wonder how wide spread they were? I mean, 'common sense' tells us this couldn't have been a 'Portsmouth Thing'. Central Government must have issued these plans, like the Anderson and so forth. Surely?

    James; Your mission ~ should ye choose to accept it ..... ;)

    Are you in touch with that Sunday morning, Local History, radio programme?
     
  10. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    I cant find either Telephone or Pitcroft Roads on googlemaps,
    but perhaps google earth might give a little look into the back
    garden in question?
     
  11. At Home Dad (Returning)

    At Home Dad (Returning) Well-Known Member

    Steve G likes this.
  12. the_historian

    the_historian Pillboxologist

    Cheers for that. There are quite a few of those left in this area, usually in back gardens serving as sheds.
    There is an allotment place on the outskirts of Rosyth which has literally dozens of Andersons all being used as sheds!
    Does anyone have pics of a wartime "Bison" shelter? I keep seeing them mentioned but can't find a pic.
     
  13. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    From Peter Haining's book The Day War Broke Out, page 53.

    Sir John Anderson , inventor of the shelter that bears his name , explaining a small-scale model.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  15. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

  16. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Times, June 29, 1940:

    ORIGIN OF ANDERSON SHELTERS
    NAME OF DESIGNER REVEALED

    The designer of the Anderson steel shelter, which has proved its value on many occasions during the air raids of the past fortnight, was revealed yesterday to be Mr. William Paterson, an old friend of Sir John Anderson, the Home Secretary, with whom he shares a house in Regent's Park.

    When Sir John Anderson became Minister of Civil Defence in 1938 he had the immediate duty of considering shelter policy. He decided in favour of a plan for taking protection to the people by providing portable shelters which could be erected in their own gardens. He submitted the technical problem to Mr. Paterson, who is chairman of the Paterson Engineering Company, water treatment engineers, Kingsway. Mr. Paterson produced a design which he patented, and afterwards presented the patent to the nation as a free gift.

    Sir John Anderson took the design to the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, who at his request assembled a body of three engineers of eminence to pass their opinion on the proposed shelter. The three experts were Mr. David Anderson (who is not related to Sir John Anderson), Mr. B.L. Hurst, and the late Sir Henry Japp. Their report was submitted to Parliament as a White Paper at the end of the same month - December, 1938. With certain modifications, intended to make mass production easier, the experts adopted Mr. Paterson's design; and thus was born the Anderson shelter.
     
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  18. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Cheers for that. There are quite a few of those left in this area, usually in back gardens serving as sheds.
    There is an allotment place on the outskirts of Rosyth which has literally dozens of Andersons all being used as sheds!
    Does anyone have pics of a wartime "Bison" shelter? I keep seeing them mentioned but can't find a pic.
    Hi Gordon, could not find a Bison Shelter but I did find this www.pillbow-study-group.org.uk/bisonpage not what you had in mind I dont think but intresting all the same. Link broken try bison mobile pillbox in the search engine should bring up the link.Jason
     
  19. Steve G

    Steve G Senior Member

    AHD; That's the ones! [​IMG] Brilliant! And so they were actually post Anderson, because Anderson's were proving too 'costly'? Who would've thought it?

    It would be the rear vent then that the Blackbirds ended up nesting in. Perfect 'ledge' for them.

    I can't access Google Maps on my connection, so I can't check. But, should anyone wish to? There's a car park now, at the south eastern corner of Pitcroft Rd. The last remaining shelter would have been on the south side. Four houses in from the east / car park.

    Very much doubt it's still there. But, one never knows.

    Telephone Rd one? I can only remember it was on the north side. About 100 houses down to the east.

    Excellent work. That's laid that one to rest. Thanks :)
     
  20. the_historian

    the_historian Pillboxologist

    Cheers Wtid. Not what I had in mind, but still interesting!
     

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