Sleaford school opens renovated 1940s air raid shelter to public as it receives £3,000 towards project

A school in Sleaford is set to transport people of all ages back in time after converting its last surviving air raid shelter into a mini-museum.

Members of Rainbow Stars visiting The Alvey Air Raid Shelter.

William Alvey CofE School, in East Gate, is now welcoming visitors to The Alvey Air Raid Shelter, as it has been dubbed.

Renovation work began on the Second World War-era shelter in July of last year – the roof was repaired, a partition wall was removed, the rotting floor and unsafe benches were replaced, lighting was installed and a glass door fitted.

Overseeing the project has been headteacher Stephen Tapley and teacher and history coordinator Natalie Mason.

Now open for bookings.

It has been supported by crowdfunding donations topping £1,400 (see www.justgiving.com/campaign/air-raid) and, just recently, a £3,000 sum from the Johnson and Mukherjee Brothers Charity.

In addition to the renovations, the project also included the sourcing of 1940s artefacts, such as gas masks, clothing and documents, with many being donated by members of the community.

Alongside this, audio has been recorded to play to visitors; it features real-life experiences from a former pupils, the sound of the air raid siren and bombs, plus Second World War radio clips.

The shelter recently welcomed its first official visitors – members of the Sleaford-based charity Rainbows Stars.

Pupils with The Alvey Air Raid Shelter leaflets.

Natalie said: “I gave the group – a mixture of young children, teenagers and adults – a guided tour of the shelter, the audio experience, and the opportunity to handle artefacts and ask lots of questions.

“The children were very enthusiastic and have already booked to come back again in September when we open the shelter on three separate dates to the general public free of charge, as part of the Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days.”

Leaflets about the shelter (and the school during the Second World War) have been produced and are currently being distributed to schools, community groups and shops.

Tours are offered free of charge. To book, email [email protected] or message the school via the Facebook page www.facebook.com/alveyairraidshelter

Taking a trip back in time ...

“It has been an incredible project and one which the whole community has really got behind,” said Natalie.