The Royal Pavilion

WWII air raid shelters

By Kenneth Ross

 
Photo:Air raid shelter in Royal Pavilion basement, 22 September 1939

Air raid shelter in Royal Pavilion basement, 22 September 1939

Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

A bomb by The Dome

Not sure if many people realise that during WWII, the wine cellars in the Royal Pavilion were used as air raid shelters, and I spent many a night down under the Pavilion. My family and I were there on the night a bomb fell just to the south of The Dome. The bomb is the reason there is a dip in the ground at that spot. Initially after the bomb, a static water tank was put on the site for the use of fire fighters in the event of any bomb damage and fires in the area. On the night the bomb fell The Dome was full of people, as there was a dance going on.

Do you have any WWII memories you can share? If you do, please leave a comment below.

Great fun for a boy

In the summer of late 1940 when we used the shelter, there was an emergency escape point in the terrace just by the windows on the west side of the Royal Pavilion. This was sometimes raised when it got very hot in the shelter and I used to climb up the ladder and watch the passers by without being seen, to a young boy this was great fun. The photograph here shows the air raid shelter; when we used them there were bunk beds against the walls, two each side, the length of the room. They were simply made from wood with chicken wire on which to put your bedding.

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