Taking shelter

Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

The most widely used shelter at home was the Anderson, which was designed to be used in the garden. It was made of corrugated iron, bolted together and half buried with earth heaped on top.  They were given free to people on low incomes or you could buy one for £7 (around £380 today).  It was also recognised that there was a need for public shelters, though councils were slow to build them.  A programme began in March 1940 but due to the hurried construction and poor quality, they offered little protection and were unpopular.

Anderson shelters were designed to accommodate up to six people. They were delivered in sections and had to be assembled by the householder. They were remarkably bomb- proof (unless suffering a direct hit) but were cold, cramped, and tended to flood after rain. Morrison ‘table’ shelters (a metal cage for indoor use) did not appear until 1941.
Two men building an Anderson shelter in a Watford garden, 1940 (HALS ref WatGrv 0220-00-17)
Part of a survey showing existing shelter arrangements for residents of Much Hadham, 1940
HALS (ref DE/X508/6)
RUNNING OUT OF SHELTERS - In June, Hatfield Rural District council was told there were no more available to issue and to tell people to dig trenches in their gardens instead. People also took shelter under the stairs, in cellars and under tables. Laura Jones, licencee of the Bricklayers Ams, Letchmore Heath and her 16 year old maid, Irene Evans were killed in the cellar of the pub after a direct hit on 26 September 1940.
HALS (ref Herts Advertiser 6 Oct 1940)
Warden's notice, St Albans, 1940
HALS (ref SBR 3858A)
Brochure sent to Welwyn Garden City Rural District Council advertising bunks for shelters.
HALS (ref RDC14/87/1)
HALS (ref (RDC14/87/1)
Bunk beds for a shelter
HALS (ref RDC14/87/1)
Brochure sent to Hoddesdon Urban District Council showing shelters available for the home and workplace, 1940
HALS (ref UDC11/30/6)
Shelters for offices
HALS (ref UDC11/30/6)
Shelters for factories
HALS (ref UDC11/30/6)
This page was added on 09/07/2020.

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