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Report - Western Park school shelter, Leicestershire - March 15

Discussion in 'Underground Sites' started by Miss Mayhem, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Exploring in Leicester with The Shepshed Diamond Back and came across this,
    what an amazing piece of history : )

    History

    Air raid shelters were a key part of survival during the war, once you heard an air raid
    siren it was key you got to a shelter as soon as possible.

    You had different types of shelters such as Anderson shelters that were made of corrugated
    bent iron that people had in their back gardens, these were partly dug out and the bent U shape
    iron over the top. Later on during the war these shelters were given to poorer families for free,
    I think its fair to say there was a lot of elbow grease involved.

    Morrison shelters were indoors but took up a lot of space so larger families chose
    Anderson Shelters in world war two, they also look a bit like a dog crate and quite cramped
    in comparison.

    Public shelters were built in communal areas such as waste land, parks, and public roads,
    this was to ensure they were easily accessible for the majority of the public.
    Unfortunately these were not very effective, and many people died from bomb blasts as
    they were not bomb proof.

    There was two types to these shelters, the first type was a long rectangular building made from bricks
    with a concrete roof above ground that contained rows of wooden bunk beds.

    The second type was underground, and some structures were concrete tubes placed
    in trenches and covered over. These again had bunk beds, and the ventilation
    was through having tubes sticking above the surface.

    School shelters were built in accordance with the Board of Education's instructions on
    'Air Raid Precautions in Schools'. These shelters were built in the grounds of the school
    but easy to get to.

    The trench was around four foot deep with a concrete base laid in the bottom
    of each shelter, and the roof and walls were formed by pouring concrete behind wooden shuttering.
    There was a short flight of steps down in to the shelter, and inside wooden benches for
    the children to sit on. There was a curtained off area with a bucket to use as a toilet,
    most shelters also had ladders with escape hatches in case the main entrance was damaged.
    In the earlier times these shelters would have been lit by small oil lamps, but there is cable and
    fixtures with switches in many of these shelters, so electricity must have been installed later on.

    The London Underground was used as a shelter that held thousands of people at a time,
    and the public went down onto the tube platforms as refuge from the bombings.
    Many people had their mattress and blankets at the ready to sleep for the night,
    many people saw the underground as the safest shelter out of all the underground
    shelters available. The toilets down there were not equipped to deal with how many
    people were using them leading to a lot of people using basic buckets, and leaving
    one big stench.

    Other shelters :
    - caves were used and also kitted out as shelter.
    - Pub cellars were the first air shelters used, these were set up with beds and bunks
    for the public to use.
    - If people did not have a shelter or could not get to one they often took shelter under the
    stairs, as this was considered to be the strongest structure of the house.
    - Cardiff Castle was taken over as a public aid raid shelter, people taking shelter in the
    corridors and rooms under the battlements.

    Its hard to imagine how terrifying it must have been sitting in any of these shelters
    whilst the bombs were coming down, and thinking you could be next at any moment.
    It would have been dark, crowded, and definitely smelly, but just may have saved your life,
    its when I see places like this I am proud to say I work with the elderly : )

    [​IMG]

    The entrance to the stairs that go down into the shelter.

    [​IMG]

    The stairs that go down into the shelter.

    [​IMG]

    Down in the shelter, its quite big and has many junctions to it.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    Cables, fixtures, and switches that would have been installed later on.

    [​IMG]

    One of the old buckets, for all your toilet needs : )

    Thanks for looking : )
     

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  2. mattdonut

    mattdonut likes teh HDr
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    Home Page:
    Looks very much like Weston park shelter
    nice to see its still doable
     
  3. Goldie87

    Goldie87 28DL Regular User
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    It's definetly Western Park school shelter, not far from me. All Leicester public and school shelters had electricity installed from the moment they were built btw :)
     
  4. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Yeah its all accessible : )
     
  5. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Oh ok cool , thanks for letting me know : )
     
  6. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    And defiantly worth a visit : )
     
  7. Yorrick

    Yorrick 28DL Regular User
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    I loved the mud slide into this one. Well done!
     
  8. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks, it was quite fun :thumb
     
  9. KM_Punk

    KM_Punk Muppet
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    Good stuff :thumb
     
  10. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks : )
     
  11. pigdog

    pigdog 28DL Regular User
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    theres some nice 1s in quorn
     
  12. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks, yeah it was fun :D
     
  13. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    I will have to have a look : )
     
  14. ACID- REFLUX

    ACID- REFLUX 28DL Regular User
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    MMMM looks like someone needs a P7 ;)

    Nice write up, but has me pondering what the tunnels like & as it looks i can"t squeeze in there you"ll have to go back :thumb
     
  15. Miss Mayhem

    Miss Mayhem 28DL Regular User
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    Thanks , it is a bit of a tight squeeze but I'm sure you will
    Fit ;)
    It's defiantly worth it :thumb
     
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