Listed air raid shelter in East Sheen getting restoration for education

Gimme shelter: The whole development will be restored

Gimme shelter: The whole development will be restored

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A listed air raid shelter, built almost 80 years ago, is to be restored so members of the public can tour it.

The World War II air raid shelter at St Leonard’s Court in East Sheen has been Grade II listed by English Heritage but is currently not safe for visitors.

Multiple organisations in the borough, including the Mortlake and East Sheen Society and the Environment Trust, have been working to restore the shelter, which has also had a commemorative plaque officially unveiled.

The plaque shows the layout of the shelter and some photos of the interior. Nicky Gill, of the Mortlake with East Sheen Society, said: “It is in such perfect condition down there, you can see all the little bunks.

“This whole project started because the managing agent of the flats wanted to dig it up and put flats down there but the residents were against it.”

The air raid shelter, half-hidden under a mound of grass, was built in about 1938, to serve St Leonard’s Court, and designed to hold 48 people – half the number of residents.

It consists of four compartments either side of central corridor, running from the entrance, which descends via steps reached from a brick conical turret and has an extending metal plate to resist blasts.

The shelter is divided into day and sleeping areas for men and women and each section has an exit ladder at the outer end leading to a vent.

Most of its fittings have survived and its structure was incorporated into the landscape of St Leonard’s Court – both traits which were deemed unusual by English Heritage, hence its listed status.

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