WWII air raid shelter found in Edinburgh during cupboard clean

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image copyrightMia Gray
image captionMia Gray said she was astonished to discover bunk beds, wartime signage and a reinforced roof in the room at the bottom of her Goldenacre flat

A WWII air raid shelter has been found in the bowels of an Edinburgh tenement building after residents decided to clear out an old store cupboard.

Dr Mia Gray said she was astonished to discover bunk beds, wartime signage and a reinforced roof in the room at the bottom of their Goldenacre flats.

Originally a Victorian washroom, she said it had been crammed full of old carpets, paint pots and household junk.

It was revealed when her neighbour, Liz Mowbray, decided to clear the cupboard.

Ms Mowbray said she feared the communal "cupboard" had become a fire hazard.

She said: "The dust down there was just awful. I couldn't even breathe when I was trying to sweep it out, it was just disgusting.

"Originally it was a washroom and it still has items such as a mangle and basins, which is fascinating in itself, but during the war they had turned it into this air raid shelter."

image copyrightMia Gray
image captionTriple bunk beds were found in the old air raid shelter in Edinburgh

Dr Gray, 33, who is on maternity leave from her job as a GP, told BBC Scotland: "I always assumed it was owned by another neighbour. It was full of junk such as wood and old carpets so I just ignored it.

"It was a cupboard off the main stairwell at the bottom and it was dark and creepy as it had no lighting so I never looked in there.

"Then Liz moved in and she asked everyone about it and discovered nobody owned it. She then asked us if she could get a company in to help move all the junk as it was a fire hazard."

She added: "Once it was cleared, we started using it to store our garden furniture and it was then that I got a big light and looked about and thought it was quite cool.

"I asked around to see if anyone knew if this was a common thing in stair tenements in Edinburgh.

"It turns out it isn't and when I put it on social media that's when my phone started pinging from people saying it was really interesting."

The German Luftwaffe made more than a dozen bombing raids on Edinburgh during World War Two.

Air raid shelters were commonplace in the city but many were temporary structures in gardens and courtyards.

Historic Scotland said it would arrange for a site inspection and a record to be made once the lockdown restrictions were lifted.

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