Monument record MCC5371 - WWII Six Military Air Raid Shelters, Colchester Garrison, Colchester


Six Military Air Raid Shelters.


Grid reference Centred TL 9992 2428 (31m by 84m)
Map sheet TL92SE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

On the W side of Mersea Road, beneath tall trees, there is a fenced-off compound which encloses six military air raid shelters. From ground level they appear as a row of long grassy humps, each with a sloping slabbed-over entrance at the E end of the N face and the W end of the S face. Each hump measures c. 36’ long x 20’ wide from the base of the grassy slope. The heights vary between 3’ and 5’, according to the differing ground levels. Protruding from the top of each hump, the ends of up to five steel ventilation pipes can be seen. The slabbed-over entrances are constructed of 3 to 4 inch solid concrete measuring 7’6 x 3’6. These slabs have been themselves concreted into position making access to the shelters impossible without heavy lifting equipment. It is now known how long the shelters have been sealed. Each of the six shelters appears identical although in the top of the second (counting from the north) there is a large grassy depression. It is not known if this is indicative of a collapsed roof or whether the earth has simply been removed at this point.

The compound is maintained by Colchester Garrison. Access to the compound is via a locked gate.

Eight photos of site.<1>

Site recording at other military establishments in Essex indicates that this pattern of air raid shelter may have been standard at such sites. It can be seen from 1940’s aerial photographs that at Colchester Garrison there were many of them. At the time of compiling this report there are just nine remaining. (See SMR 20626/MCC5372 two shelters S of Napier Road and SMR 20627/MCC5373 one shelter S of Napier Road).

As more and more military sites become subject to re-development so this type of air raid shelter becomes more rare. At Deadman’s Point 6-inch coastal artillery site, on Canvey Island (Essex CC SMR 7216), four were recorded as extant in 1996. In 2000, nine were recorded at Shoeburyness Old Ranges from an original complement of over fifty. The six shelters in the compound at Colchester Garrison are an important part of the history and heritage of the town and as such every effort should be made to ensure their continued survival, ultimately to Scheduled Monument status.

See also <2> & <3>.

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <1> Photograph: Nash, Fred. 2002. unknown. eight frames.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Nash, Fred. 2007. SURVEY OF WORLD WAR TWO DEFENCES IN THE BOROUGH OF COLCHESTER. VOLUME 1. Volume 1.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Nash, Fred. 2007. SURVEY OF WORLD WAR TWO DEFENCES IN THE BOROUGH OF COLCHESTER. VOLUME 2. Volume 2.

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Protected Status/Designation

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

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Record last edited

Jun 18 2020 7:42AM

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