Hi. I realise this is a fairly old post but im new here and live in luton... I was womdering if anyone who is going to do any of these explorations in luon anytime soon would consider letting me and a friend come with as we know pretty much nowhere in luton except one underground shelter in bury park... Thanks
I have some information from an ex British Gas employee. They were building the Gas Social Club now known as the Eastern Gas Social Club somewhere in the Dallow Road area when they came across part of a substantial underground structure I believe to be part of this shelter complex.
It is sadly time to put this rumour to bed. I went to Bedford to visit the Bedfordshire & Luton Archives.
Like all good rumours, it has an element of truth in it. There were 4 shelters in the area of Kingsway.
One on the corner of Kingsway & Dunstable road, one in Portland Road (above ground with funny story) & 2, yes 2 in Kingsway Rec.
It seems having a shelter on a playing field is a common occurrence. There were 32 trench shelters under the care of Luton Council.
These shelters were made of pre-cast concrete, a very similar shape to the metal Anderson shelter, complete with ribs in the concrete.
They were installed using a cut & cover method & are completely different to the 4 documented deep level tunnel shelters in Luton.
There are records of the contract dated 1950 awarded to a single company to seal up these 32 shelters on park land.
The easiest result of this contract to check out is Wardown Park. All that can be seen are a couple of grassy mounds. No entrance whatsoever.
I guess the work was done to a similar standard on each of these 32 shelters, so it is likely to be a case of “move along, nothing to see here”.
Unless you are “Time Team”, these ARE sealed.
For interest purposes, it seems like the Kingsway Rec was quite a big one but there was so much to read, I missed writing down the actual capacity of it.
Wardown held 480, Dallow Road Rec held 1440, Blundell Road Rec held 200, The Moor held 540 etc.....
The funny story is for another time but I will just say, where there is blame, there is a claim! & the council were having none of it!!
If anyone is genuinely interested in the history & daily goings on during the war, I recommend a visit to Bedford. I can’t accurately explain the number of documents & detail stored there. Weeks & weeks of reading, maybe years even.
To get the best information, be nice & respectful to both the staff & the wealth of original historic documents. Nice, really helpful people.
2 hours was not nearly enough. I will return.