Anderson Shelter Facts

Here are some facts about Anderson Shelters, popular air raid shelter used during the Blitz.

  • The Anderson shelter was designed in 1938.
  • It was named after Sir John Anderson, the man responsible for preparing Britain to withstand German air raids.
  • Anderson shelters were designed for 6 people.
  • The construction of the shelter was reasonably simple. The main part of the shelter was formed from six corrugated steel panels. Flat corrugated steel panels were bolted on to form the sides and end panels (one of which contained the door).
  • The shelters measured 1.4m wide, 2m long and 1.8m tall. They were quite cramped and someone taller than 6ft would not have been able to stand up in one.
  • Once constructed, the Anderson shelters were buried over 1 metre in the ground and then they were covered over with a thick layer of soil and turf.
  • Anderson shelters were free to those with an annual income of less than £250. For those who didn’t fall into this category, the price was £7.
  • Approximately 3.5 million Anderson shelters were built either before the war had started or during the conflict.
  • Anderson shelters were very effective at saving lives and preventing major injuries during air raids, but they were really cold during the winter months. To try to prevent people going back to their warm houses at night when the weather got colder, the Government issued some guidelines about how to make the Anderson shelters more comfortable. They also developed the Morrison shelter which could be used indoors.
  • Many Anderson shelters have survived to this day. Lots were dug up and used as garden sheds.

Anderson shelter instructions

  • Families were provided with the materials and were expected to construct the Anderson shelters from a set of instructions.

Find out more about other types of air raid shelters, check out some facts about the Blitz and look at our World War 2 links page.

36 Responses to Anderson Shelter Facts

  1. My maiden name was Anderson and I am currently researching the Anderson family tree and would like to know please, if Sir John Anderson (who designed the shelters) originated from Scotland and from which part if he did. I would be interested in any info that is available especially if it helps trace my family further back. Thank you. I find this ll very interesting and have printed off this page to put in my Anderson family file just in case he’s a relation.

    • Hi Lynn,
      Thanks for visiting Primary Facts.
      John Anderson was born in Scotland on 8th July 1882, in Eskbank (part of Dalkeith in Midlothian), and he studied mathematics and geology at the University of Edinburgh.
      Hope this helps!

  2. I suppose I am lucky to have not one but 2 of the Anderson shelters in my back garden.
    Still in very good condition and have been raised and bolted together to make one big one.
    It is coincidental that my name is Anderson but who knows with a name like mine “Graham Anderson” could be a relative.
    They were unsightly but this is used now just for a shed and full of hoarded rubbish.
    I live in Leicestershire UK and anyone who needs to see it can come anytime to look but purely for educational needs.

    Thanks for reading

    Graham Anderson

  3. These facts really helped me with my homework. They are interesting facts as well. Thank you for reading my comment. Nadia age 10

  4. This website is amazing! i am doing a history project on ww2 at the moment and I’ve used it for about every page! Thanks :)

  5. I’d just like to say it’s so good to see all of you young historians enjoying your subject so much, well done you guys!

Leave a reply