The curious semi-troglodyte lifestyle that became normal for Brits in World War Two has become a fascination for collectors eager to acquire some of the rare artefacts that remind us of dark nights sheltering from Hitler’s bombers

Many of our forebears owed their lives to air raid shelters – and by extension, so do many of us today. However, just how Britain’s population could be protected from aerial bombardment had been a subject of much debate between scientists, politicians and the public – and had been more or less so since the end of the Great War. The government estimated that 50 casualties (about a third fatal) would result for every ton of bombs dropped on London. Theorists prophesied significantly higher deaths.

The most obvious precaution was to remove civilians from target areas, and this the government did. Waves of evacuations relocated almost four million people, as well as precious arts and treasures, gold reserves, government functions and entire businesses, positioning them away from likely bombing or invasion areas.

Want to read more?

This is a premium article and requires an active subscription.

Existing subscriber? Sign in now

No subscription?

Pick one of our introductory offers