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Pupils dig for victory to build bomb shelter at Golders Green school ahead of VE Day

The WW2 Anderson shelter at King Alfred School. Pictured are pupils with parent and digger Laurence Dunmore. Picture: Nigel Sutton The WW2 Anderson shelter at King Alfred School. Pictured are pupils with parent and digger Laurence Dunmore. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
3:00 PM

Bombs falling on Golders Green seems an unlikely threat in the 21st century. But primary school children have nonetheless made sure they are fully prepared – by building an air raid shelter in their school’s grounds.

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Pupils aged 10 and 11 at King Alfred School, in North End Road, have built the Anderson Shelter to mark the 69th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

Year 6 teacher Rachael Herman said: “I thought it would be a really great opportunity to make an Anderson Shelter with the children doing everything to bring it to life so they could see what families had to do in the 1940s.”

The children celebrated the completion of their bomb shelter with a 1940s-style tea party ahead of Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, on May 8.

Parents were invited to see the final result which included a “Dig for Victory” vegetable patch and garden planted by the children, just as it would have been done during the war.

The children have been involved with the construction of the shelter from start to finish.

Max Miller, 11, said: “I’ve learned that they must have had a hard time in the 1940s.”

Issues with flooding forced the class to move the shelter to a new location and to install a water pump which cleverly acts as an irrigation system for the vegetable plot.

Elvis Stangroom, 10, added: “We have a pump which nobody then would have had.

“They would have used buckets to empty out the water which didn’t always work.”

The shelter could not have been built without the contributions of parents, notably Laurence Dunmore, who went to the school every day with his pickaxe to help dig the hole.

Mr Dunmore, of Brondesbury Park, Queen’s Park, who has a son in Year 6, said: “Unfortunately it didn’t come flat pack, so I offered my services as I thought it would be a nice way to spend a week or so and almost four weeks later, here we are.”

The Anderson Shelter will now act as a permanent learning space at King Alfred School and children will use it in their history, science, English, music and drama classes.

The shelter will soon be fitted out with benches and bunk beds that will also be built by the children.

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