During wartime, air-raid shelters were used across Britain to help protect against attacks from the air. The article abstract explains: “Just before WWII, the British government prepared for an aerial onslaught that was predicted to raze cities and cause mass casualties. By 1938, the Air Raid Precautions Act officially stated that population protection would be through dispersal, meaning evacuation and small-scale protection, local authority responsibility often devolving to householders.”
Air-raid structures were typically constructed underground, and the archaeological records of any remaining shelters are rare. Experts are now using geophysical surveys to help locate and study these fascinating pieces of history.
RSK’s geophysics team searching for buried air-raid shelters in a park in central London, UK
The research paper reports on geophysical surveys that were carried out at three sites in Stoke-on-Trent and London, UK, and what the technology was able to uncover. Studies found three intact Stanton shelters in Stoke-on-Trent, which were located using ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity, magnetometry, gravity and electromagnetic methods. Partially demolished shelters and an intact, mass public shelter in London, detected by EM and GPR methods were also found. The presence of the shelters seen in the geophysical data was then confirmed by coring and trial pitting, which was also undertaken by RSK’s geosciences team in Hemel Hempstead, UK.
Access to the full paper is available to purchase here.