During World War II in the UK, many structures were used/converted into air raid shelters, such as cellars, basements, underpasses, and underground stations. In 1938 Anderson shelters were introduced in homes and in 1940 the UK began building communal shelters to be used as air raid shelters.

Many larger and older semi-detached and detached properties in the UK contained cellars which were used as shelters; however, cellars are now not normally included in newer properties due to higher building costs.

Old bomb shelters, such as Anderson shelters, can still be found in back gardens, and are usually restored into sheds or for gardening.

Image credit: Simon Speed

However, Switzerland, Spain, and, Finland, and a few other countries, have kept air-raid shelters in ready condition, with many Swiss buildings still having reinforced basements to double as shelters. Finland has over 45,000 civil defence shelters that can house around 3.6 million people (Ministry of the Interior Finland) to protect against future threats. Houses over 1,200m2 are obliged to have them and inspectors regularly check shelters.

So why does Britain not have bomb shelters, like we once did? Britain chose to not make provisions for the costly communal bomb shelters as part of civil defence plans and instead placed it upon individuals to find and implement their own means of protection. Many larger bomb shelters, or other important buildings that were used during the war, have been bought and converted into visitor attractions, private residences, or even holiday homes. Luke Bennett, associate professor of natural and built environments at Sheffield Hallam University, comments how many of the older facilities in the UK are not good enough to be reactivated and most shelters have fallen to ruin (The Guardian, 2022).

It is therefore important that the public find their own means of protection against threats such as nuclear war by implementing their own shelters in private or commercial properties.

To find out more about nuclear shelters and how you could incorporate one on your property, contact us at +44 (0) 1709 730260 or email info@thepanicroomcompany.com.