Air Raid Shelter Access, Brighton

Entrance to air raid shelter

We are currently working on an interesting project aimed at improving access to a restored WW2 underground air raid shelter at Downs Junior School in Brighton.

Built in 1939, at what was then the Ditchling Road School, the shelter was designed to provide subterranean protection for up to 300 pupils. It was also used by the local community at night.

In recent years, the shelter has been lovingly restored as a local history museum offering a completely immersive experience using exhibits and interactive features. Most of the items within the museum have been donated by members of the local community, some of whom are former pupils who used the shelter during the war.

Set out as a series of inter-connecting pre-cast slab concrete tunnels approximately 3 metres under the playground, the shelter is one of three at the school and the only one still accessible.

Downs Junior School air raid shelterHowever, access is currently restricted as the shelter can only be reached via a narrow opening and vertical ladder.

Gyoury Self will be providing structural engineering designs for widened access and a new staircase leading down from the school playground. This will greatly improve access to the Take Shelter tours provided to school parties and members of the public wishing to step back in time and experience the spirit of the Blitz.

The school has applied for Lottery funding for the new access to be built and it is hoped that works can commence in the coming months.

Image Credits: Downs Junior School

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