I visited the Stockport air raid shelters earlier this month and it was so interesting learning about them and seeing, again, how hard must have been during WWII at the time of the German blitz.
Stockport air raid shelters were carved into the natural sandstone cliffs. It is very interesting how many rooms are; and some of those rooms have interesting uses, for example, as a prison-cell for any violent drunk civilians who had to be protected from the air raids, but, at the same time, to be kept away from the general public. The shelters had a nurse station, toilet facilities, kitchens, lots of bunk beds.
It must have been terrifying to go there each night, along with thousands of people, without knowing if your home was still intact the next day; if you would still have a place to go to. Also, pets were not allowed in the shelter and I can easily imagine how terrible was for pets loving owners to leave them at home, hoping they will survive the night, each night, for weeks.
The visit to the air raid shelters made me think how resilient people can be, but also, how much they post pone doing things, hoping nothing bad will happen to them. Do-Make-Mend and Dig-for-Victory only started to be widely embraced by the people after the war started, despite the government giving warnings that rationing might be put in place. It is so similar to what happens today, with scientists and governments giving warnings about climate change, but most of us are in a lovely state of denial, in our business-as-usual approach, flying off to city breaks for a couple of nights, buying distressed clothes, eating meat, buying roses which are flown from Africa, getting plastic toys from China for children to play once or twice with, and eating chocolate eggs filled with fair trade cocoa and unsustainable palm oil, because the palm issue is not as known and cared for as the cocoa is. We too don’t think we’ll ever have to ration.
There were signs for save your waste, give the food scraps to farmers for their pigs, use as little rubber as possible as in don’t use your rubber boots unless you have to. Alongside these, there were the patriotic signs, telling people to do their bit for the war effort.
The tickets are £5 per person, for adults. Monday is closed. The address is 61 Chestergate, Stockport, SK1 1NE. They do not have a car park, but there are a few parking options, on nearby streets, and at the Merseyway Shopping Centre.