Portobello air raid shelter

Local history of Portobello, including an archive of Portobello postcards through the years

Portobello air raid shelter

Postby Skeely » 17 Jan 2012, 23:11

Would anyone here know, or even remember, the location of the Portobello bomb shelters? I moved into Mount Lodge Place last year, and have heard rumours that my garden — where the clump of trees is in the map below — is above an old air raid shelter, probably the cellar of a previous building. I've got visions of a garden shed with a very big basement!

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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby Epykat » 17 Jan 2012, 23:43

The ground floor of the house on the right of that photo (no.19) (to the left of your clump of trees) belonged to my in laws. They had quite a big basement and when they moved in in the 1970s they found a warden's helmet, gas mask, table, chairs from WW11. It was obviously used as some kind of bomb shelter. As far as I know a bomb actually fell on Mount Lodge during the War but it didn't explode. My granny lived at No. 43 Bath Street and they had to take in families from Mount Lodge who were evacuated until the bomb was made safe.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby rathbone » 17 Jan 2012, 23:59

Just to keep it in the family (I'm Epykat's big brother):

There were air raid shelters in lots of locations in Portobello. The main, large ones were in Brighton Place park.

This is an aerial photograph of Portobello taken during the war.

http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/search_item/image.php?service=RCAHMS&id=151835&image_id=SC755092&refer=/

You can identify the shelters in Brighton Place. If you follow up to Mount Lodge, at the edge of the photograph are what look like another two at about the location of your garden.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby Skeely » 18 Jan 2012, 19:56

I read about the bomb in the library — it was near Christian Path, and they tried to dig it out but it kept sinking further. In the end they covered it in concrete. Thanks for the info. Rathbone, do you know if the Brighton Place ones were underground, or were they huts?
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby wangi » 18 Jan 2012, 21:15

rathbone wrote:This is an aerial photograph of Portobello taken during the war.

Maybe the same series; but slight better res at http://geo.nls.uk/search/mosaic/ (select Scotland Air Photos 1944-50 and zoom in)
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby rathbone » 18 Jan 2012, 21:17

I don't have a definitive answer for that. The ones at the Marine Gardens were dug-out, as were those at Leith Links, so it would probably be safe to assume that they were dug.

I've come across a reference to a guide to all the Edinburgh air raid shelters, including their type of construction, which was distributed by Edinburgh Corporation on 2 December 1939 and I would assume that there is a copy of that in the Central Library. That would probably give you chapter and verse.

There are also reports in the Scotsman for 1939 of basements being adapted as air-raid shelters, which would fit in with the info from Epykat about the adjoining property in Mount Lodge.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby wangi » 18 Jan 2012, 21:21

EdinPhoto has a scan of "Guide to Edinburgh Air Raid Shelters" online; no map for Porty but just the list with Mount Lodge Place. See: http://www.edinphoto.org.uk/0_B/0_books ... 11.htm#p20
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby Bob Jefferson » 19 Jan 2012, 07:18

From my earlier research on Portobello's public parks:

By October 1939 trench shelters had been constructed in Brighton Park and Abercorn Park, providing accomodation for a total of 800 persons.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby administrator » 19 Jan 2012, 09:04

From our Facebook:
Sarah McFadyen Eady wrote:My mum lived at 25 Brighton Place, she says there was a shelter in the back garden for all the families in the flats there, probably 8 families. She also remembers a shelter on Bath Street, a shop was put on the site after the war.

Irene Bell wrote:I was very little but we used the basement in 28 Brighton place when the air raids were on and my grandmother had one in the back garden which served all the flats in 9 Mentone Avenue!
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby Skeely » 19 Jan 2012, 14:13

Great stuff, thanks all. The mosaic viewer is fantastic.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby kilts away » 26 Sep 2012, 02:30

my grandparents had one in their back garden in Adelphi Place
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby SoupDragon » 29 Sep 2012, 13:04

According to what my mum said she and her sisters slept under the stair during air raids
That would be in ?49 Melville Street now Bellfield Street
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby seashell » 30 Sep 2012, 19:20

My grandfather was an architect and designed an air-raid shelter for his family which was built in the backgarden. It was designed to bear the weight of 2 house collapsing on top of it, with a 3 foot deep roof made of reinforced concrete. it remained in situ until the house was sold in the early 80s and the new owner had to get men with pneumatic drills to demolish it. I spent many happy hours playing in there as a child.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby glenbanna » 11 Sep 2014, 14:23

I have just noticed this post. I was brought up in 8 Mount Lodge Place. At the bottom of the small back garden there was a little gate in the fence which opened into the next garden to allow access to a long gone Anderson shelter.
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Re: Portobello air raid shelter

Postby archimedesign » 05 May 2015, 16:33

Skeely wrote:I read about the bomb in the library — it was near Christian Path, and they tried to dig it out but it kept sinking further. In the end they covered it in concrete. Thanks for the info. Rathbone, do you know if the Brighton Place ones were underground, or were they huts?

Sounds right, there were 5 bombs dropped on Portobello Aug 4, 1940: Abercorn Park, 9 Abercorn Terrace,
Christian Path, 84 Argyle Place and Argyle Crescent. Luckily we had no causalities since none of the bombs exploded (Source).
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