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Thread: World War II air raid shelters and defenses in the Liverpool area

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    Newbie davegore2005's Avatar
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    Default World War II air raid shelters and defenses in the Liverpool area

    Here is one for the history buffs among us, my family and myself were walking on the path from the coastguard station out towards Hightown and Formby today and I mentioned to my wife that there used to be what I imagine to be old air raid shelters dug into the sand dunes somewhere along there, I remember climbing down into them when when I was many years younger.


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    We walked as far as the waste water treatment pumping plant but for the life of me i could not place where the shelters were, or even how far they are from the coastguard station...any help to jog my memory would be gladly appreciated

    Dave

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    MarkA
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    I remember seeing them last summer. Can't pinpoint them exactly but we walked a bit further inland along the edge of the golf course walking back to the coastguard station. There was a fenced off part that was presumably for the Natterjacks, then there was a large sand dune and just past that there was what looked like the back of large pill boxes facing inland. Sorry I can't be any more specific.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davegore2005 View Post
    Here is one for the history buffs among us, my family and myself were walking on the path from the coastguard station out towards Hightown and Formby today and I mentioned to my wife that there used to be what I imagine to be old air raid shelters dug into the sand dunes somewhere along there, I remember climbing down into them when when I was many years younger.

    We walked as far as the waste water treatment pumping plant but for the life of me i could not place where the shelters were, or even how far they are from the coastguard station...any help to jog my memory would be gladly appreciated

    Dave
    Hi Dave

    As MarkA mentions, it sounds as if you are talking about pill boxes for coastal defense rather than air raid shelters.

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    Newbie sconhead's Avatar
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    there was a ROC post there and i think it has been destroyed now it was in the fenced off area near the coast guard station

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    Still alive snappel's Avatar
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    The structures you refer to are pillboxes. I explored them (in all of about 2 minutes!!) a year or so ago. I'd hoped there would be some link tunnels and things, but they're individual pillboxes once used for the defence of the Mersey Estuary.

    I know that Formby's ROC post still exists, although it's in bad shape and totally stripped/burnt out inside. Last time I was up there you could get inside it, although obviously not much to see now...

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    Newbie Degsy_b's Avatar
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    Post Fort Crosby

    Hi,

    I have a map on my website of the area you refer to www.worldwar2defences.co.uk The structures are part of old Fort Crosby and it did defend the estuary. The site was built before both world wars but was beefed up during the second world war to defend the North Western Approaches. If you're interested in WW2 Pillboxes and defence structures in merseyside there are more on my website. I am constantly adding locations there are so many it is going to take me a long time to photograph and add them all!

    Hope that helps

    Derek

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Very interesting that, I used to wonder what that concrete construction in Clarkes Gardens was, I guessed it had something to do with the war but wondered why one, out on a limb like that. I remember the anti tank/landing craft triangular concrete structures on Crosby beach in the late 1960s or am I dreaming?
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    DaisyChains
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    I just wondered if there are any other air raid shelters still about in Liverpool?

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Degsy_b View Post
    Hi,

    I have a map on my website of the area you refer to www.worldwar2defences.co.uk The structures are part of old Fort Crosby and it did defend the estuary. The site was built before both world wars but was beefed up during the second world war to defend the North Western Approaches. If you're interested in WW2 Pillboxes and defence structures in merseyside there are more on my website. I am constantly adding locations there are so many it is going to take me a long time to photograph and add them all!

    Hope that helps

    Derek
    Hi Derek

    Thanks for pointing us to your very interesting site. I had a look at the interactive map. I seem to remember dragon's teeth in the fields to the south of the railway bridge on Speke Hall Road. They would have been across the road from the Retail Park but south of the bridge. Am I remembering correctly? This would have been in the Fifties or early Sixties.

    I am sure you can answer DaisyChains query about whether there are any other air raid shelters still about in Liverpool. Of course, the Western Approaches Command Centre at Derby House would be one, but I wonder if there might be other air raid shelters in Liverpool still in existence but derelict or put to other uses? In the postwar years, my grandfather used my family's old Anderson shelter as a toolshed and I am sure other Liverpudlians did likewise, so there may be a few of those around as well.

    Chris
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    Cadfael
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyChains View Post
    I just wondered if there are any other air raid shelters still about in Liverpool?
    I know of one in Childwall in someone's back garden!

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Excellent pics and information, snappel. Thanks!

    All the best

    Chris
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    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    I know 3 pillboxes in Liverpool. Clarke Gardens, 2 at Garston Docks. One of the Garston ones can be seen from the very Southern end of Cressington Esplanade. You have to lean out over the raillings and look left to see it.
    I have heard there are a couple more around Hunts Cross/Speke (or used to be).
    There used to be a pillbox at the rear of the Army base at Aigburth Road, but with all the new houses around St Michaels, I guess it went years ago. I last saw that one about 30 years ago.
    I have a distant memory of seeing those pyramid defenses around Oglet beach, possibly around the 'dungeon'. There are also modern-day copies of these pyramids, to keep motorbikes out of parks etc.

  13. #13
    PhilipG
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    The Park Nook site in Ullet Road/Princes Park had what I'm sure were air-raid shelters until a couple of years ago when they built new flats on the site.

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    Newbie Degsy_b's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great Info

    Hi,

    Erm there's so much information coming thick and fast I don't know where to start answering! Firstly I'd be very grateful if people here would submit pictures and locations of pillboxes they know of and aren't on my site. As for any remaining air raid shelters there are some recorded in the British Archaeological survey, any one interested can check out http://ads.ahds.ac.uk/catalogue/search/map.cfm I haven't managed to track any down myself, but I think there's one in Kirkby and there are a few recorded on the Wirral. Again if anyone can pinpoint these structures for me I'd be hugely appreciative. I love the pictures of the basement shelter, is it the royal Liverbuildings? Can I use the pictures on my site? Can people visit them?

    I know of a Pillbox at Garston docks right by the shore line. I don't know of the other one, so if you could tell me where that is? that would be great! I had a look for the pillbox at St Michael's hamlet behind the TA barracks about 5 months ago and I think it has been lost to housing development, it was a a Type 23 anti aircraft pillbox and it still recorded on the Brit Arch Survey.

    Thanks for everyones contibutions what a fabulous response!

    Derek

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    Still alive snappel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Degsy_b View Post
    I love the pictures of the basement shelter, is it the royal Liverbuildings? Can I use the pictures on my site? Can people visit them?
    It's the Royal Insurance Building - it's got a gold dome on the top, and has been vacant for some years now. It's not publicly accessible I'm afraid - my access was through a basement window, which unfortunately has now been boarded up as I'd love to have another look round.

    I'll sort you out some better quality photos if you like - I have better ones than those above. I'm happy for photos to be used on other peoples' websites free of charge - all I ask is that they retain my small watermark so that people know where they came from.

    PhilipG - are these the ones you meant? I went to photograph them back in 2004, but builders were already on site. All gone now.

    http://www.williamsontunnels.com/articles/martineau.htm

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    Newbie Degsy_b's Avatar
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    Smile Dragons Teeth

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Excellent pics and information, snappel. Thanks!

    All the best

    Chris
    Hi Chris if they are the ones by Hilfoot road Bridge. I went to look for them a few months ago and couldn't find them. I never give up until I've been back in the Winter. You can see much more when the vegetation dies back. So I will be going back, perhaps with a few more pillboxes to look for with the kind help of people from this forum!

    Better go look busy

    Derek

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    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    I know I've got a picture of one of the Garston ones (I'll look for it). I've seen a pic of the other somewhere on this web-site, if anyone can remember which thread it is in.
    Re: Park Nook, I was last down that tunnel about '73. A strange tunnel, just there, for no reason.

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    Cadfael
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    There's also a Pill Box on Springwood Ave that's still there to this day.

    I've been in the Wavertree shelters - they've been documented by the Liverpool Echo too.

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    Default Shelter

    Quote Originally Posted by snappel View Post
    It's the Royal Insurance Building
    I'm happy for photos to be used on other peoples' websites free of charge - all I ask is that they retain my small watermark so that people know where they came from.

    http://www.williamsontunnels.com/articles/martineau.htm
    Thanks so much.

    I will of course incliude the water mark and the a credit in the pop up window (what an accolade hey)? Is it the royal Insurance Building Liverpool? Near the Pier Head?

    Thanks

    Derek

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    PhilipG
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    Quote Originally Posted by snappel View Post
    PhilipG - are these the ones you meant? I went to photograph them back in 2004, but builders were already on site. All gone now.

    http://www.williamsontunnels.com/articles/martineau.htm
    That's it.
    Thanks for the photo.
    All the times I took the dog to that park, and I never took any photos!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Degsy_b View Post

    I know of a Pillbox at Garston docks right by the shore line. I don't know of the other one, so if you could tell me where that is? that would be great!


    Is this what u mean?

    RE: The other one, I remember playing in it when I was young. I went back to look for it last year without success.

    I found this one, now demolished, on the old Liverpool, airport site.

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    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    ^ That's the one I was thinking of. I hope it is one and not just a brick shed.
    March 2004


    There is only one good viewpoint for the Cressington Esplanade one...unless you jump onto the beach. I see the railing has been painted.
    Last edited by marky; 12-08-2007 at 12:12 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Newbie Degsy_b's Avatar
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    Smile Pillboxes

    Yep that's the red brick one I was thinking of at Garston Docks. I'd like to go and have a look at it myself. It seems to be a type 22. They're a regular hexagon shape. If you are interested in pillboxes check out the link to the British Archaeological Survey, and of course there are others on my site. Unfortunately haven't covered Liverpool much yet. Also the wirral is littered with the things, I'm planning a few trips in the new year to try and record a few over there. It's a real shame about that other pillbox now demolished unfortunately we're loosing them all the time. There were a pair of pillboxes given away to a museum in Millom Cumbria again from the old Speke air field development.

    Thanks for your help, and can I appeal again to anyone who has information on Pillboxes or any WW2 Structures, could they let me know? I try and update the website www.worldwar2defences.co.uk every month so check for updates if you're interested.

    Derek

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    Cadfael
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipG View Post
    That's it.
    Thanks for the photo.
    All the times I took the dog to that park, and I never took any photos!
    Managed to get in those - it really was a 40ft long tunnel with lovely brickwork inside and certainly looked like it went much further.
    Didn't take any pictures but it's a shame that they've gone now - there used to be large sandstone blocks scattered about the place too.

  25. #25
    PhilipG
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadfael View Post
    Managed to get in those - it really was a 40ft long tunnel with lovely brickwork inside and certainly looked like it went much further.
    Didn't take any pictures but it's a shame that they've gone now - there used to be large sandstone blocks scattered about the place too.
    I didn't know they went that far, but doesn't 40 feet still indicate an air-raid shelter?
    It was also said that it was the cellars of the house called Park Nook which were used as air-raid shelters.
    Park Nook was the only building ever on the site, which is part of the original Toxteth Park.

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    Cadfael
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipG View Post
    I didn't know they went that far, but doesn't 40 feet still indicate an air-raid shelter?
    It was also said that it was the cellars of the house called Park Nook which were used as air-raid shelters.
    Park Nook was the only building ever on the site, which is part of the original Toxteth Park.
    They may well have been used for air raid shelters at some point - although access to them was via crawling on your stomach to get in to them a few years ago.

    But when FOWT visited them and did some background work, it was realised that they were built along with the house for James Martineau for his children to play in. There were various blocked off archways underground which indicated a much larger area rather than just the one tunnel system which was actually quite narrow. I only wish I had taken more pictures back then but while I think they may have been fairly extensive, they were nothing like the elaborate Williamson's Tunnels.

    They themselves were looked at by the City Council to see if they were suitable for air raid shelters but decided against them.

    The picture below shows chaps from LCC exploring the tunnels to see if they were of use during the war:



    Source - LCC

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    PhilipG
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    Thanks, Brother Cad.
    That all sounds logical.
    There is an early painting of Princes Park taken from Martineau's, but I never did find out exactly where Martineau's was.

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    Senior Member marky's Avatar
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    Springwood Avenue, March 2004.


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    Thanks Marky, any idea why this was built so far inland rather than down by the river? Or was that quite common?
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    Default Garston Air Raid Shelter

    The basement of the old Co-op stores in St Mary's Rd, Garston was converted into an air raid shelter. It's still there. The building now houses the Ethel Austin Women's and Children's store

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