Guildford Foxenden Quarry Air Raid Shelter

With the frequency and intensity of German air raids increasing, public safety and protection became ever more crucial. Local authorities began a programme of building underground shelters to provide the public with easily accessible protection from the bombs. Many towns had numerous smaller shelters, and Guildford was no exception. However, the ferocity and regularity of the air raids called for a much larger shelter to be constructed as quickly as possible.

The builders at Guildford were very fortunate as a disused chalk quarry just outside the town centre presented them with the ideal location for this new deep shelter. Once completed it could accommodate up to 1000 people and provide sleeping areas, first aid provision and a clean sanitary shelter for such a large amount of people. Being so close to the town centre it could also be reached by the local population easily and quickly.

With the war going very much against Nazi Germany by 1944, the threat of air raids diminished markedly, and the need for the deep shelter no longer existed. As a result, it was closed to the public and has only recently been reopened for public viewing. As a result of 60 years of being sealed, the shelter has been saved from the vandalism that has befallen so many contemporary shelters. It retains many original features such as signs on the walls, toilets, etc, and with the exception of the removal of the bunks, Guildford shelter gives an excellent idea of how it would have been for those taking shelter during the war.

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