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mounsey

Potential bomb shelter in our garden?

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Hi there. Not sure if this is the best category to post in (@Admin - by all means move the post if not!).

We live in S2 and have that is believed to be a (concrete) sealed WW2 bomb shelter in our garden.

I say "believed to be" for two reasons: 1) The former owners indicated that's what it was when we were shown around the house (though hadn't investigated it themselves, nor had any more info) - and 2) If it ISN'T a sealed shelter of some sort.. I can't think what else it could be!

I can and will post some pictures in due course, but to get the ball rolling I wondered if anyone on here has any knowledge of "domestic" WW2 shelters like this (potential) one?

One immediate oddity is that the house also has a sizeable seller (two rooms - one larger, one small) - so it seems unlikely any such shelter would have been required..? That said, the garden is long / thin - so the location of the potential shelter is some distance away from the house (and in turn safer, I suppose..). Also, as far as I know there are no such shelters in the gardens of other properties on the street (the house is a Victorian mid-terrace).

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated. Depending on what response I get I may then also put some pictures up here of the suspected / potential shelter.

Cheers,

John.

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Not an expert on this subject but I think there was a move away from using cellars as, easy though they were to re-inforce, if the house collapsed on top of them there was no means of escape.

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The Anderson shelter was the normal domestic one, corrugated steel with an arched shape, buried about 6 feet but with the top showing.  I slept through the blitz in ours!

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Thanks for the replies so far. I'll be adding a picture shortly.. stay tuned!

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OK... here's a picture of the entire area. NOTE: The square smaller slab and bird bath are NOT attached (we've added those ourselves, to try and brighten it up a bit!).

The concrete (larger) area is a mound, of sorts - in that it is raised / domed slightly from the ground.

Also... tempting as it looks, that corroded metal edging turned up to be something of a tease - as although it *looks* like the edge of a hatch / door / lid, having now removed it there are no signs of gaps / joins (though I still suspect there will be, somewhere in there..). Since this picture was taken I've prised away the metal - no joy there - but the 4 corner "posts" remain in the ground (these are hollow and I can get a screwdriver / stick approx 4 inches into them).

I can provide close up pictures if the interest is there. Based on this image + description do people agree that this is most likely *some* kind of shelter...?

John

shelter.jpg

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PS here's a more recently image showing the metal edging removed + one of the (hollow) corner "posts". There is no sign of an obvious join / gap at ANY point all the way round - and yet the rectangular area (see preceding picture) IS flat (compared to the "mound" below) - and also gives the impression of being a "lid" section / piece... which is odd.

IMG_20180603_185422.jpg

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Again I'm no expert on bomb/anderson shelters but we had a concrete cover like that in one of our gardens (not shffield) and it was the property of the water board, as was !

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2 hours ago, Gordon crapper said:

The Anderson shelter was the normal domestic one, corrugated steel with an arched shape, buried about 6 feet but with the top showing.  I slept through the blitz in ours!

Thanks for this Gordon. Do you happen to know if the underground ones had a particular name? Or was "Anderson Shelter" the collective term for all such things - under or overground. I've also heard of "Morrison" shelters, but not sure how or where they fit into this! -John.

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1 minute ago, rob123 said:

Again I'm no expert on bomb/anderson shelters but we had a concrete cover like that in one of our gardens (not shffield) and it was the property of the water board, as was !

Interesting! I'd wondered about that too. However, there is no sign (at all) of any plaque or similar on there (indicating what it is / was for).

Was the one you mentioned similarly "blank" / nameless? Thanks for the replies.

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*further bit of info. I has been a while since I've bothered moving the bird bath etc. off the area, but from memory when you jump on it / stamp on it, it does NOT in any way feel "hollow" underneath.

So that's a little disappointing - from the angle of hoping this *could* have something underneath / inside..!

With my positive head on I dream of WW2 hidden riches... or maybe the Ark of the Covenant is down there... but sadly I fear the reality may well be considerably more mundane!

John

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Not quite blank, it had faint "engraving" presumably from stamping the wet concrete with dies with some initials, presumably the company name.

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1 hour ago, mounsey said:

Thanks for this Gordon. Do you happen to know if the underground ones had a particular name? Or was "Anderson Shelter" the collective term for all such things - under or overground. I've also heard of "Morrison" shelters, but not sure how or where they fit into this! -John.

A Morrison Shelter was an indoor shelter, a cage like thing. Apart from anything that has been cast in place the only concrete one I know of was the Stanton Shelter but they were concrete strips bolted together so it doesn't look like one of those. The easiest and safest way I can think of testing the depth would be to use a long masonry drill bit but beware of pipes or cables. Keep us informed, I like a good mystery.

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21 minutes ago, rob123 said:

Not quite blank, it had faint "engraving" presumably from stamping the wet concrete with dies with some initials, presumably the company name.

Interesting. I'll take a look at this / for this next time I move the bird bath! Thanks for the hint / tip.

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1 minute ago, boginspro said:

A Morrison Shelter was an indoor shelter, a cage like thing. Apart from anything that has been cast in place the only concrete one I know of was the Stanton Shelter but they were concrete strips bolted together so it doesn't look like one of those. The easiest way I can think of testing the depth would be to use a long masonry drill bit. Keep us informed, I like a good mystery.

Good idea re: masonary bit (though a slight risk I suppose.. not knowing WHAT is under there..!) - I'll be sure to keep all informed. At the moment I'm occasionally chipping away at that single corner (as keen to keep costs down so not hiring any special heavy duty gear and using what I've got). I do have a decent drill though so could well give your suggestion a try sometime too. Thanks for that.

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9 minutes ago, mounsey said:

(though a slight risk I suppose.

I thought that after posting and edited my post almost immediately to say beware of pipes or cables but I think you had already read it.

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I just remembered some concrete ones that I knew many years ago at Birley East Pit, but those were built into a bank with an entrance at the front and a hatch in the roof further back.

birley_east_shelter.jpg

birley_east_shelter_2.jpg

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2 hours ago, boginspro said:

I thought that after posting and edited my post almost immediately to say beware of pipes or cables but I think you had already read it.

No worries! If I do decide to go down that route I'll be sure to be careful :)

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1 hour ago, boginspro said:

I just remembered some concrete ones that I knew many years ago at Birley East Pit, but those were built into a bank with an entrance at the front and a hatch in the roof further back.

birley_east_shelter.jpg

birley_east_shelter_2.jpg

Interesting! I doubt that'll be what we've got.. but you never know!

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Not being very helpful but the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo was a concrete access cover as used by the GPO.

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51 minutes ago, lysander said:

Not being very helpful but the first thing I thought of when I saw the photo was a concrete access cover as used by the GPO.

I am not sure which type of cover the GPO use but if it is the recessed type like the one below it certainly does look like one. If it is one of these would there be a layer of metal under a thin layer of concrete?  I suppose they would be used for many purposes and that the rim could rot away after a time. My first thought was a culvert cover but I suppose that would show on deeds / plans.

recessed_manhole_cover.jpg

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16 hours ago, boginspro said:

I am not sure which type of cover the GPO use but if it is the recessed type like the one below it certainly does look like one. If it is one of these would there be a layer of metal under a thin layer of concrete?  I suppose they would be used for many purposes and that the rim could rot away after a time. My first thought was a culvert cover but I suppose that would show on deeds / plans.

recessed_manhole_cover.jpg

Hi - thanks for this too (both respondents).

The odd thing with what we have is that there is ZERO sign any any seam or join at all. The (now removed) corroded metal rim (hollow metal poles) came away, but underneath nothing more than the "groove" / impression where that metal had been.

No seam.. not joins.. and certainly no gaps. Very strange. I've been chipping away at one corner (when time permits..) - and will continue to do so. About 1 inch down / in so far (into that corner) and still no sign of any such joins or gap (there).

I'll keep you all posted!

 

John

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20 hours ago, boginspro said:

I am not sure which type of cover the GPO use but if it is the recessed type like the one below it certainly does look like one. If it is one of these would there be a layer of metal under a thin layer of concrete?  I suppose they would be used for many purposes and that the rim could rot away after a time. My first thought was a culvert cover but I suppose that would show on deeds / plans.

recessed_manhole_cover.jpg

PS if it is like this the layer of concrete (middle) is at least 4 inches thick - as there is an area where I can see it looks like a former resident has "had a go" - at chipping away / down on one section. They must have given up though as with 3-4 inches in, no sign of anything different.. just more concrete! There's every chance it is ALL filled in - but that would be odd too. A real mystery..

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