Family finds air raid shelter under their lawn
PUBLISHED: 10:04 16 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 16 May 2020
Lockdown has unlocked a secret in the back garden of a suburban home.
For a family has dug deep to discover a concrete Second World War air raid shelter in the middle of their lawn.
Clare, 39, who did not want to give her surname, moved into her Thorpe St Andrew home two years ago.
At the time they were told by the former owner’s son and next-door neighbour that the 1m high mound in the garden was an air raid shelter.
But Clare, who works at Jane Austen College in Norwich, scoffed at the idea and believed it was just earth.
She said: “We just laughed and didn’t pay too much attention to it. There also wasn’t any mention of a shelter in the land registry or other housing documents.”
After forgetting about it and focussing on renovations to the house, the family’s attention only turned to the mound again during lockdown.
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As they are all working or schooling from home, Clare decided it was the perfect opportunity to investigate.
She was then shocked to find there was a concrete air raid shelter after a short dig.
Clare said: “As we’ve all been quarantined we thought we would dig it out, clear the waste and flatten it out. I was really surprised to find a shelter and didn’t expect it to be such a thick, concrete structure.
“It is a bit of a Pandora’s box and a fair job to dig out – we’ve had to have a skip delivered.”
However, due to the sturdy structure, Clare has been unable to access the entrance but said she could see liquid and some objects inside.
She has enlisted the help of her friend’s mini digger in the coming days and expects the full excavation will take several weeks. Clare said she hoped to keep the shelter as a feature.
She said: “It is a part of history and part of the history of where we live. However, if the expense to restore it is too high it may not be viable for us but we will wait and see.”
Her daughter Ava, 9, a pupil at Hillside Avenue Primary School, helped with the dig and has been sending updates to her teacher while studying from home.
Clare said: “She has been delighted by the whole project.”
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