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.

90 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.

  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!

  6. This and the morrison shelter page have really helped me with my technology website about England- I used to live there and then I moved so I wanted to do a page on History and WW2 but I only knew a small amount about both shelters! Thx! =)

  7. This is a very good website for homework. I got my homework done in half an hour using this website. It explains it very simply and is very factual too. 🙂

  8. Thanks, this helped major!!!
    I’d searched on 17 websites and 6 search websites and nothing good about ‘Anderson Air Raid Shelters’ untill I found this great website. I would reccomend this to anyone, I’ve learnt so much {For A Change} considering I’m only 9. This really helped me with my project for my school {ST.John Fishers its a great school}

  9. Just yesterday we discovered an Anderson Shelter at the bottom of my sons garden and I used this website to confirm this fact. My son moved in This house 2 weeks ago and as the garden is really really overgrown we decided to tackle it this week and we found this shelter completely covered with Tree Ivy and were very excited to find out if it was in fact a shelter.

  10. This might have been said by a lot of people but, this useful pieces of info really brightened up my day because my class and I are studying on Anderson Shelters, so this info really added some inspiration to my homework. Thanks a lot, whoever posted this!!!.

  11. My Year 5 (Age 9) Daughter has just started reading ‘My Friend the enemy’.It has just mentioned an Anderson shelter so we googled it and found this page :-). Very clear and easy to understand,she has taken notes and hopefully will gain a school’House Point’. Thank you x

  12. Very interesting and informative! I am a 75-year-old American woman and I had never heard of Anderson shelters! I read a lot. And my favorite novels are spy novels from the WW II ERA. MY FATHER SERVED IN WW II AND IS STILL LIVING. HE WILL BE 96 in Dec.
    I am currently reading the book In FARLEIGH Field. On page 152 the author mentions an Anderson shelter being in the back yard. When I come across something I don’t know I look it up. (Thanks google). That is how I came to learn all about Anderson shelters! So. You are never too old to learn! Lol

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