Brick and concrete roof air-raid shelters
Part of the ambition of the Raids Over York project is to document examples of the different types of shelters still standing today in the city.
As York’s water table is comparatively high in large parts of the city, it prevented the inclusion of basements in the city’s standard terraces, as are commonly found in, say, Leeds, Sheffield or Harrogate, forcing the authorities to opt instead for constructing external shelters for civilians.
Again, the water table frequently prevented the widespread use of the national shelter programme of Anderson Shelters in York (although some were used and continue to exist in the city), as these were most effective when semi-subterranean and dug down into the ground.
York’s standard private air-raid shelter is therefore most often a simple brick and concrete roof structure, usually in a rear yard or garden and set slightly away from the rear of the property.
These brick shelters invariably have two-skins of brick – making the walls 9″ (23cm) wide.
They had a simple entrance to one side (not central to it), and had a flat or slightly pitched 6″ (15cm) concrete roof atop.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has complicated gaining access to better record these shelters, as is the Raids Over York project’s intention, we are grateful to homeowners who have contacted us and sent details and images of their shelters so far. You can too, by contacting us via this website or our social media channels.
We are also very interested to learn what the city’s remaining private shelters are used for today – and tool shed or bin store perhaps? And we would love it if you could also send us a picture of you or your family in front of the shelter! It helps to really make that connection between life in York today and the remarkable history of York during World War Two – everything that the Raids Over York project is about.
Thanks to homeowners on Huntingdon Road, Stamford Street East, Lindley Street, Glen Road, Mill Lane, Levisham Street, and Melbourne Street for details and images of their brick and concrete roof air-raid shelters.