New air raid shelter for SVR
THE Severn Valley Railway has been awarded £10,000 funding to construct a purpose-built Anderson shelter and covered seating area at the Engine House Visitor and Education Centre in Highley.
The project has been made possible with a grant from Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
The wartime Britain activity is the most popular education programme the SVR offers to visiting schools. Pupils board an evacuation train at Kidderminster and are transported back in time to Highley. They take part in a range of hands-on activities, looking at evacuee suitcases, as well as 1940s toys, games and artefacts, and learning about rationing and wartime cooking. The existing Anderson shelter has always been one of the highlights of the day, but its tiny size and lack of adjacent outdoor seating left a lot of room for improvement, as SVR education officer Helen Russell explained:
“Rebuilding and enlarging our Anderson shelter and creating a covered seating area will make a huge difference to what we’re able to do with the children. In the past, we could only fit a small number of children inside the shelter at once, and it’s been a real disappointment when we’ve had to cancel this popular activity because of bad weather. The youngsters really enjoy getting handson when they take part in our 1940s activities, and the new enlarged shelter and seating area will really bring to life the experiences of evacuees during World War II.”
Work on the new Anderson shelter and seating area will begin early in 2019 and the new facilities will be ready for use after Easter.