Anderson air raid shelter: Adams family home, Mascot

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Sydney
Accession Number REL29034
Collection type Technology
Object type Technology
Physical description Steel, Wood
Maker John Lysaght Pty Ltd
Lysaght's Newcastle Works Pty Limited
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle, Australia: New South Wales, Port Kembla
Date made 1939-1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Anderson air raid shelter. The outside of the shelter is painted black and consists of an internal timber frame which is covered by six sheets of corrugated steel sheeting (three each side). The corrugated steel sheets have been joined and curved to form the walls and an arched roof. The interior has been modified post Second World War, with the addition of wooden shelving and cupboards with five hinging doors. The shelter is supported by a rectangular shaped, concrete encrusted, angle iron frame which is heavily corroded.

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History / Summary

The Anderson Air Raid Shelter or Air Raid Precaution (ARP) shelter was a prefabricated kit consisting of a 4-piece angle-iron base frame, 6-piece dome section of curved corrugated iron, and corrugated iron end sheets. It was designed c1938 by Sir William Paterson at the request of British Home Secretary and Minster for Home Security, John Anderson (after whom it was named), and was based on an earlier design by Dr David Anderson. The structure was intended to be buried half in the ground with the upper half covered in soil. The manufacturer John Lysaght P/L states in advertising material: "over 40,000 tons of these shelters were supplied to the British Government by the Australian company of John Lysaght (Aust) Pty Ltd and over 2,500,000 were supplied by the English manufacturers", and stress the strength of their product: "on test, this type of shelter stood up to a dead weight of 75 tons of pig iron." This example has been in the Adams family (although at three different Sydney houses) since its construction during the

Second World War and was recovered by AWM staff from the backyard of 23 Sutherland Street, Rosebery, Sydney on 26 June 2001. Originally purchased from Anthony Hordens Department Store in Sydney for a 15 pounds, 11 and sixpence, the shelter was installed in June/July 1942 in the backyard of Maria 'Bessie' Charlotte Adams home at 405 Gardeners Road, Mascot, Sydney by her sons. Son Douglas later moved it to 73 Sparkes Road, before finally transferring it to Sutherland Street. The original end sheets have been replaced by fibro, and non-original cupboards have been installed, as the shelter was used post-war as a tool shed. Donated with the shelter are an original assembly instruction sheet, photographs of this shelter during construction, and a British National Emergency Services sheet dated 20 Sept 1940 on air raid shelters.