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WWII air-raid shelters - some info, please

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Malcolm_Stewart, May 11, 2014.

  1. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    During WWII we lived in a 3 bed-semi to the west of Manchester, and before the war ended, we were supplied with an air-raid shelter which was assembled in our front room. It was of heavy steel construction with a flat top, sloping sides, and short vertical walls at floor level. I remember that the steel plates were bolted together, and were slightly ridged - presumably for extra strength. After the war, we unbolted the structure, and re-erected it in our garden where it served as a coal shelter, keeping some of the rain off our supplies of coal. Here's a sketch of the shape:


    I wonder if anyone can tell me what its name was. My grandmother, who lived a short distance away, had a typical Anderson shelter in her rear garden (hers was half buried), and some neighbours (living in a similar house to ourselves), had a Morrison shelter in their front room.

    From Wikipedia - Anderson shelter, unburied

    Also from Wikipedia, Morrison Shelter - flat top, coarse wire net side walls

    Prior to the delivery of our shelter, we had sheltered under our tough oak dining table, and I expect it would have been strong enough to give some protection from debris, but not a direct hit.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
  2. Footloose

    Footloose Well-Known Member

    By all accounts, this was one of the Morrison designs ... so I'm presuming he devised more than one type ... 'the ‘Morrison’ shelter, named after Herbert Morrison the then Minister of Home Security. This was an indoor steel ‘table’ shelter assembled from a ‘kit of parts’ which were assembled and bolted together inside the house. The steel top ‘doubled’ as a table and there were wire mesh panels around the four sides with an entry door through one of the panels.'
    Try this link ...
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2014
  3. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    My mother and I were in a morrison shelter when a doodlebug (V1) landed on the house next door and flattened most of ours. Our Dachshund, who had been in the kitchen, trotted through the now doorless house to find us, wagging his tail and looking pleased with himself.
    I even managed to go to school the next morning.

    A morrison shelter would take the full weight of a collapsed house, but ours only had to hold up a section of ceiling and part of a wall.

    Ours had woven steel slatted sides like the base, not wire as in the photo.

    We also had an anderson shelter in the garden, but that was always cold and damp , but was no stronger, but would have given better blast protection.
  4. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    Sorry no idea of the name of the shelter you describe . My experience is confined to the Morrison variety and I was in one when a V1 brought the ceiling down in our flat. It was the ground floor of a large Victorian villa and had high ceilings so it could have been very nasty without the shelter. You could say Mr Morrison saved my life.
  5. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Malcolm, I have no idea, but I'm going to post a link to your thread on another forum that might.

  6. viscountdriver

    viscountdriver Well-Known Member

    There were two tyypes. The Anderson Shelter and the Morrison Shelter.That is the Morrison.The Anderson was used outside,
  7. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Thanks, but my query is about the type I've sketched above in red - it's quite different to the two types for which I've found images. It did not use corrugated sheet, as in the Anderson Shelter shown, and they were quite common around where we lived, Flixton.
    In addition to the Anderson shelter in my maternal grandmother's rear garden, there were large communal air-raid shelters in Victoria Road, Urmston - these were erected at intervals along the road, and had brick walls, and reinforced concrete roofs.
  8. miked

    miked Well-Known Member

    FYI Get on to BBC IPlayer because last night's (Sunday) episode of the Antique Roadshow actually featured a Morrison shelter. Worth watching.
  9. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for your tip - I watched it via iPlayer, and it's quite an insight into the flat table top version.
  10. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera In the Stop Bath

    When ours was delivered it was built at the bottom of the garden half buried then covered with soil,when it rained it filled up with water we were then given stirup pumps to get the water out! needless to say we did not go into the shelter very often, mom, my older sister, and myself, would get under the table in our living room when the sirens went off, dad was in the army he thought we were safe in the shelter.....
  11. Malcolm_Stewart

    Malcolm_Stewart Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys for your help.

    I've now remembered that towards the end of WWII, I remember seeing a gas-bag vehicle and this was often parked in Victoria Road, Urmston not far from my grandmother's house.

    They're described in the link below. My example was similar to the 2nd. shown in the link.

    Can anyone else remember seeing them?
  12. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    I can clearly remember a gas powered saloon that parked in Broadlands Road Highgate in (approx) 1944. It was not quite like any of the illustrations in that it had a solid top, rather like a bellows, which presumably allowed a steady pressure to be maintained. But I was 7 at the time so I may not be remembering clearly.

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