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15 October 2014
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The Morrison Shelter

by Sumaru

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Archive List > Childhood and Evacuation

Contributed by 
Sumaru
People in story: 
The Wheeler Family
Location of story: 
Cranford, Middlesex
Background to story: 
Civilian
Article ID: 
A5251222
Contributed on: 
22 August 2005

The Morrison shelter was not, I believe, as popular as the Anderson. Being an indoor shelter at least it remained dry and even warm, a luxury that the Anderson usually
lacked.
The Morrison shelter was warm because it was designed like an enormous bed with a lid. It took up about 12ft.X 6ft. of our living room floor and was about the height of our dining room table. Family members who were still at home during the blitz, plus whoever happened to be visiting when the air-raid siren sounded, would simply pile in. The body count would generally amount to three adults, three children and one dog.
I believe the Morrison was a cast iron object. If anyone can correct me, please do.
Ours was beautiful, a bright silver. I think my father must have painted it this colour, surely they did not all come in that attractive shade? although I did not in fact come across another Morrison of any colour in friends houses, there must have been many in existence.

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Message 1 - The Morrison Shelter

Posted on: 22 August 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Samuru

You speculated whether a Morrison shelter was made of cast iron. No, it wasn't for safety reasons - cast iron is brittle and would easily shatter like a thick sheet of toffee does - under impact. The shelters had a stout steel frame.

The design was approved by the Home Office in January 1941 and the first supplies began to be issued by the end of March. They were welded in the style of a table but with wire mesh sides and a heavy steel plate 1/8in thick for the top with high-tensile steel legs. They were 6ft 6ins long by 4ft wide standing 2ft 9ins off the ground - the prototypes were taller, but it was decided to make it usable as a table during the day. A Morrison two-tier shelter was later made available, following demand for more room. This had the same measurements in length and width but measured 4ft 3ins high. Both models were designed to withstand the debris from the collapse of two floors.

Householders were instructed to erect the shelter in their cellars, or if they didn't have a cellar, on the ground floor of their house. Famlies with an anual income under £350 a year - about £11,400 in current values - were eligible for a free shelter, otherwise they were available for purchase for £7 12s. 6d (about £ 245 in 2005 values).

Regards,
Peter Ghiringhelli

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