|Anderson Shelter diagram found at:http://www.bigginhill-history.co.uk/images/andersonpicture.JPG.|
When you talk about air raid shelters, most people envisage the infamous Anderson shelter which was popular. Named after Sir John Anderson who was Home Secretary during the Battle of Britain, 1.5 million were distributed leading up to the war, and by 1945 3.6 million had been made http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/online-exhibitions/history-of-the-battle-of-britain/air-raid-shelter-protection.aspx. It was constructed of corrugated iron,partially underground and the roof and walls were covered in soil. They were often damp but did provide some cover against bombs, although they could not withstand a direct hit. The public either bought them from the government or they were free depending on how much people earned - if you earned more than £5 per week you could buy one for £7. The Anderson shelter could accommodate up to 6 people.
|Family entering Anderson shelter.|
Another type which was hugely successful was the Morrison shelter, named after the Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison. This was a basic design which was really just an iron cage which could fit under the kitchen table, ideal if you did not have a garden. These became available in 1941. http://www.1900s.org.uk/1940s-bomb-shelters-morrison.htm. It would not have been able to hold 6 people like the Anderson shelter but at least you could get in it quickly when the air raid siren went.
The London Tube provided a great deal of shelter during the blitz, as did other public shelters in towns and cities.
The entrance to a public shelter was marked with a large S Sign, they were constructed of brick and were not bomb proof, but they were blast proof.
Air raid shelters saved many lives during the Second World War. Without them the casualties from air raids would have been horrific.