Gimme Shelter - The Backyard Bunker of World War II

February 25, 2019

On February 25th 1939 the first Anderson Shelter was erected in a garden in Islington. A government project to offer air raid protection to households that was remarkably resilient.

After Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of Great Britain, returned from his infamous peace conference with Hitler in September 1938, he made his ill fated remark "peace in our time." Despite his buoyant public proclamation and hallowed "piece of paper" in November 1938 he appointed Sir John Anderson to head up Air Raid Precautions. Engineer William Patterson was commissioned to design a small and cost effective shelter that could be easily erected in people's gardens. It was one of the many preparations  Chamberlain put into place as he accepted the inevitability of the gathering storm.

The first "Anderson shelter", as they came to be known, was erected in Islington, London on February 25th 1939. Between then and the outbreak of war in September that year 1.5million shelters were distributed. A further 1.2million during the war itself.

 

The shelters were composed of six curved corrugated galvanised stee