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Report - - Carshalton Park Air Raid Shelter, Sutton, London - April 2016 | Underground Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Carshalton Park Air Raid Shelter, Sutton, London - April 2016

Bertie Bollockbrains

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#1
Visited with @kkj and @carcrazy
(and thanks to those two who worked out the way in - I just tagged along on a revisit)


A WW2 public air raid shelter, said to have been built for 1000 people. Anyways it was lost to history until January 2012 when a member of the public reported a hole opening up in the park - the shelter was re-discovered. The media turned up, articles appeared in newspapers and on television, and many an unauthorised visitor entered the shelter.

Sadly the local council promptly placed a skip over the hole, to be followed by a lockable hatch. The party was over, but the H+S zealots weren’t finished there and the shelter is now annually checked for security and safety sticking to the rules: “Gas monitoring for O2, CO2, methane and H2S should be undertaken during entry to the air raid shelter… The appropriate PPE be worn and that persons entering the shelter be accompanied by a suitable qualified safety officer, whilst at least one person remains outside the shelter.” Reading that I now feel as if I have just completed the most dangerous adventure in my life and lucky to be alive for we broke every one of those rules.

One does wonder just how many more lost WW2 air raid shelters are out there to be rediscovered.


HISTORY

Prior to World War Two, the central government commissioned local authorities to undertake a survey of their area to ascertain if there were premises in shopping, businesses and other areas where the public were likely to congregate in no more than 7 minutes walk from their homes. The result of this led to a series of buried trenches being dug in numerous boroughs throughout the country to provide protection to the local population. Carshalton was no different and set about constructing accommodation for a total of 7000 people in various parks throughout their borough.

Park location Capacity

St Helier 3000
Carshalton Park 1000
Wrythe Green 1000
Stanley Park 1000
Banstead Road 400
Harold Road 500 (in conjunction with Sutton and Cheam Council)

The Parks Service received a report from a member of the public about a hole in Carshalton Park on the 3rd January 2012. Following this, the area was inspected and the hole was made safe by dumping a big skip over it. Upon further inspection, it was found to be more than a hole and officers looked at aerial photographs and satellite imagery which revealed the outline of an air shelter. A lockable hatch now covers the hole.


DESCRIPTION


The shelter is located below existing ground level in Carshalton Park and was constructed with pre-cast reinforced concrete sections for the walls and ceilings and insitu concrete for the stairs and floors with an internal steel frame that appears to provide lateral stability for the pre-cast concrete panels.

There are 3 main stair entrances into the shelter and all are c. 1.4m wide, and have all been backfilled. The shelter consists of corridors, laid out in a series of doglegs, numbered 1 to 6, that provided some blast protection in the event of a nearby bomb explosion. The passageways are all c. 1.4m wide and 1.8m high internally. The passage floors are generally clear apart from two of the corridors where it appears that the timber benches had been collected and burnt after the war.

The shelter provides basic facilities for its occupants, and would appear to have had some form of electric lighting powered either by battery or from the mains, and supplied by wires running through steel conduit, which still survives in some areas. At the ends of each corridor a recessed area was provided for occupants to boil water on a concrete plinth. A vent pipe carried the steam to the surface.

A toilet block was provided in the centre of the shelter and appears to have split for ladies and gentlemen. The toilet block is constructed in rendered brickwork with a reinforced insitu concrete roof spanning between a concrete beam

This form of pre-cast trench construction would appear to have been widely used across the country and would have been constructed utilising a cut-and-cover technique, using spoil from the trench to cover the pre-cast concrete structure.


THE EXPLORE

Once again thanks to @kkj who found the way in.

Corridors are labelled with numbers from 1 to 6
12_zpsea3lsycv.jpg


And it all looks a bit repetitive
06_zpsgv1eulbl.jpg


05_zpsrffysbok.jpg


Here is one of two corridors where benches had been gathered together after the war and burnt.
07_zpshjgxweaa.jpg


A message on the wall saying Ladies and an arrow
13_zpsop3v92dy.jpg


And it leads to the Ladies toilets
10_zpsxoxfkti3.jpg


And the Gentlemens next door
11_zpsn61noxxc.jpg


One of the three backfilled stairs entrances
09_zpsbbzfqlpg.jpg


Electrical remains
15_zpsfngcfqjh.jpg


And a few artifacts down there (stupidly I didn’t photograph the stove which is still down there)
17_zpspkxti1dv.jpg


18_zpsidto8pua.jpg


Finally, as stated in the intro, there is (or was) six shelters in various parks in the Carshalton area. Haven't attempted looking for the others, but a bit of research tells me that Wrythe Green is backfilled and it's going to need a big spade:
Wrythe%20Green_zps63rqt1kv.jpg


And Banstead Road shelter is seen here in the late 1950s as the white pyramid thingy in the park
Banstead%20Park%20Lady%20Neville%20recreation%20Ground%201959_zpshlwbwpxh.jpg
 

obscurity

Flaxenation of the G!!!
Regular User
#2
good work to all involved and some decent photos there mate. Shame there isn't anything left in there but it looks pretty clean and id not heard of it before. :thumb