Air Raid Shelters & Wardens


Betty McLean in Canada asks, “I am wondering if you have done any research on streets where there may have been air raid shelters?  I think there was an Anderson shelter in the back garden in the house next door to 61  Welsh Drive  where I lived with my parents and grandfather.  I also have a feeling there may have been a brick shelter just outside the gate at Welsh Drive.  I know for a fact there was one in Burnbank outside my other grandparents house in Ulster Terrace.  

After the war there was a man who lived near Ulster Terrace who used his shelter for children to visit inside where he had decorated it with birds etc. We paid a half penny for the fascinating experience of being there.  I remember going down the stair into the ground where we could sit and look around and the feeling of not being able to stay longer”

Blantyre had several Air Raid Shelters throughout the area. Constructed hastily and lasting for the duration of the War years, amongst the more notable larger shelters were: One at Calder Street and another at Larkfield at the corner of Broompark Road and Stonefield Road, directly across from Danskins.

This was manned every evening by at least one air raid warden.

Blantyre also had dozens of Anderson Shelters. These were smaller, metal and brick air raid shelters, often in resident’s gardens. They probably would not have been too effective had a bomb ever struck, but the shelters were very common throughout the UK. Following the war, these tin shelters lasted right into the 1980s or so, and were often turned into bike sheds, potting sheds, kennels or pidgeon coops. There is a possibility that some still exist in Blantyre. Pictured below is my mother Janet Duncan in the back garden of 10 Stonefield Crescent in 1965. Mum would have been about 18 then and looks like she’s just washed her hair. To her right is the Anderson Shelter. It lasted right into the late 1980s, use as a bike shed in the post WW2 years.


Air Raid Precautions Wardens or ARP Wardens had the task of patrolling the Blantyre streets during blackout, to ensure that no light was visible.

Darkness throughout cities and towns was necessary to avoid the attention of German bombers in World War Two. If lights were spotted, the warden would alert the person responsible by shouting something like “Put that light out!” or “Cover that window!” They could report persistent offenders to the local police.

It was stated officially in the Glasgow Herald on September 29th, 1938 that Blantyre Police were highly pleased with the response made for volunteers for service under the A.R.P. regulations. Up till then over 1,000 men had appeared at the Blantyre Police Station and agreed to give their services for immediate duty. The men were allocated to districts and sub-districts under senior officers and were representative of all classes in the community, which included business men in Glasgow, local doctors and business men, unemployed miners and school teachers. Gas masks had been stored in the local police office for some time previous to that, but from September 1938, masks were stored in different halls in Blantyre.

Amongst the names of WW2 wardens in Blantyre were Mr Hamilton and Mr Boyle and it was not unknown for Blantyre wardens to help out in Glasgow.

There were around 1.4 million ARP wardens in Britain during the war, almost all unpaid part-time volunteers who also held daytime jobs.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)

On social media:

Jean Steven Frame We had a brick shelter outside our house in Hill St Burnbank but I don’t remember an Ulster terrace, where was that?
James Stirling jean that should be udston terrace
Alan Dorricott I lived in 17 Welsh Drive until 2000 and had to pull the Anderson shelter down due to it being unsafe. It was used as a coal bunker by the previous owner. It survived pretty well despite its many years and use
Marian Maguire There was one at Nancy charmers in stonefield crescent.
Jim Frame We had one in ellisland street prefabs
Jack Owens There was a brick one with a very thick concrete one on the Gable wall at 223a Glasgow road,
James Stirling jean it is udston terrace
Maryclare Nelson My mum and dad still have an Anderson shelter in the garden!!
Anne Cook We had one at 22 Stonefield Cres!!!-ended up used for garden equipment!!
Jeanette Lee My gran had one in Hunthill Road.
Fotheringham There was one on viewfield ave….village……my mother got the contract to remove them
Julie Tabor My mums neighbours still have 1
Irene Dickman My mum and dad had one in Morris Crescent think it’s still there
Danny Moran One at 4 Spruce Ave ma auld hoos!
Rae Brown My first home after getting married was 61 Welsh Drive, the shelter you talk of next door was still there in 1988
Elizabeth Lovatt My grandmother lived on Welsh Drive too Liza Shanks
Kenny Macfarlane 22 stonefield cres,blantyre had an anderson shelter for many years,i remember sitting on top for ages with john galloway
Beverley Orr My nana and papa had one in Victoria Street. They kept coal in it.
Maureen Friery Moran We had one at 49 Morven Avenue. It was used as a storage shed when I was young. We kept bikes, lawn mower, etc in the shelter. I doubt if it’s still there.
Pamela McKeown There is still one that a no of down the village
Moira Hunter My Parent,s had one in Viewfield Ave & it,s still there !!
Jean MacKie We had one in the station road prefabs
Jane Stone Were there not some Anderson Shelters in gardens left up near Eddlewood..up that way in Hamilton, even recently?
Davy Thomson My gran and grandad stayed in 40 Welsh Drive,, im sure there was next door to them

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  1. I was born at No 1 Welsh Drive in1937 and had an Anderson shelter in the garden untill removal in 1951/52. A concrete shelter was also built between No 1 and Auchinraith Rd. It was demolished around 1949/50. WE moved to Coatshill in 1956.
    John Gillespie

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