A block of flats in south west London with its own Second World War air raid shelter

I had to reblog this post, not least because we were living in East Sheen until recently and I had no idea of the air raid shelter’s existence. I’ve just discovered, however, that my other half knows all about it and many years ago he was able to go down there. Fascinating and I’m so relieved the structure has been restored and listed.

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The period between the two World Wars was one of massive expansion for London.  The city’s population grew and grew, peaking at 8.6 million in 1939 (a total not surpassed until very recently), and new housing was built at a rate never seen before to accommodate this growth. These new homes, council houses and private houses alike, contained modern facilities such as indoor toilets, making them attractive to those living in older, less well-equipped homes.  But a new housing development in East Sheen, in south west London, had yet another desirable feature for potential buyers: as the fear of war grew in the 1930s, St Leonard’s Court came with its own purpose-built air raid shelter.

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East Sheen Cemetery and the “Angel of Death”

Until very recently, East Sheen was one of our local cemeteries.

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Opened in the early 1900s in a well-heeled area on the edge of Richmond Park, East Sheen Cemetery seems at first to be an entirely typical 20th Century burial ground, its paths lined by stone and marble monuments, sheltered by pine trees.  Sadly, it’s suffered from vandalism over the years and a number of crosses and headstones have fallen or been pushed over.

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However, there is a dramatic surprise waiting for visitors to this otherwise unassuming cemetery.

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