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Friday
Apr182008

Air-Raid Shelters at Hardwick House

One of a row of air-raid shelters at Hardwick House, Whitchurch, near Reading, UK (here on Google Maps).  When I first walked past them, several years ago, I didn't realize there was more than one; maybe they were more overgrown then.  Actually, there are four in a line parallel to the Whitchurch-to-Mapledurham track.  Here I suggested that they might have been a starfish site, but I now think that is wrong and it is more likely that they were air-raid shelters for people living or working at the House.  Maybe Hardwick House was occupied by a branch of the government or the military during the war?  Does anyone know?

All four shelters are identical in layout and construction.  Each has a little closet (a toilet?) next to the entrance door.  Each main room originally had a circular skylight with a metal ladder to it, though the westernmost one's ladder has been detached.  I understand that these skylights were emergency exits for use in case the main entrance was blocked by bomb damage.  The main rooms seem to be particularly, even unnecessarily, roomy.

Reader Comments (3)

They don't appear to have been fortified enough to withstand a direct hit from a bomb.
April 20 | Unregistered CommenterAydin
I think most air-raid shelters in WW2 Britain were designed more to stop shrapnel and flying debris, rather than withstand a direct hit. This was certainly the case with the common Anderson shelter.
April 21 | Unregistered CommenterTristram
Thanks for this info. A friend of mine saw these recently and wondered what they were. Now I can tell him!
May 24 | Unregistered CommenterA. Job

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