Liverpool Blitz: Anderson and other shelters
Anderson shelters were small (1.95m x 1.35m), cheap air raid shelters, distributed to 2.25 million homes in vulnerable areas like Merseyside. They were made from six sheets of steel, bolted into a curved shape and half buried in the ground. The earth that had been removed could be piled on top to provide extra protection, and even used for growing vegetables.
They were designed to hold six people but not in very much comfort. They were cold and draughty and stuffy when sealed. In low-lying areas they were easily flooded. The government hoped that people would spend the night in them, but the lack of space, warmth and soundproofing meant that most people only went in once the air raid siren was sounded.
Not everyone used personal shelters. Some people didn't have a garden so used public shelters in large basements. Others didn't like or trust shelters so took their chances under the stairs at home. Some people didn't bother getting out of bed at all when the siren was sounded.
There were other types of shelter. Surface shelters were made of brick and concrete, but a national shortage of concrete meant they were not very stable or safe.
Other people had Morrison shelters in their houses. These were made of thick steel and wire, and provided sleeping space for up to three people. They also doubled as a kitchen/dining table. They cost £7 each or were free to people with a household income of less than £350/year.