A wartime view of Cromwell Road from the junction with Westgate showing a row of air-raid shelters.
The Government at the time started a programme of building street communal shelters in March 1940. These shelters were to be constructed by private builders (under the supervision of Government inspectors and surveyors) and were built with thick brick walls and a reinforced concrete roof and could house about 50 people.
Many of these street communal shelters were built but, unfortunately, the shelters didn’t perform very well in air raids. The brick walls were often shaken down allowing the concrete roof to fall on those inside. Improved designs were introduced but public confidence in the communal shelters had been lost and the trend moved towards individuals building shelters on their own property with materials supplied by the Government.