THROUGH THE ARCHIVES: Work gets under way with construction of air raid shelters in Belfast

From the Belfast News Letter, September 9, 1939

By Darryl Armitage
Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 6:00 am
It was reported on this day in 1939 that work on building a number of domestic public air raid shelters had begun at Victoria Park in Belfast
It was reported on this day in 1939 that work on building a number of domestic public air raid shelters had begun at Victoria Park in Belfast

The building of domestic public air raid shelters in brick and concrete was expected to begin in “the specified danger zones of Belfast” reported the News Letter on this day in 1939.

This was to include a number in Victoria Park, to which access was to be gained over the Connswater River by a new footbridge.

The paper noted: “The bridge is chiefly for the workers of the aircraft factory.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It was also announced that a number of first aid posts were also to be established throughout the city, these included Tamar Street Hall, Templemore Avenue PE school or public baths, Albertbridge Road Tuberculosis Institute, Greymount Children’s Hospital, Spier’s Place Child Welfare Centre, Carlisle Circus School Clinic, ARP Headquarters, Academy Street, Durham Street Tuberculosis Institute, the Institute of Pathology, Grosvenor Road, Belfast Children’s Hospital, the Samaritan Hospital, and the Corporation depots at Queen’s Bridge, Albert Street and Cliftonpark Avenue.

The News Letter had also learned that over 140 trade vehicles had been offered for “use as ambulances” and that of these 77 had been found to be “satisfactory” for service. However, it was noted that some 215 vehicles were required to help aid the emergency provisions of the city. Some 150 private motorists had also offered their cars for the removal of the “less seriously injured”.

The News Letter remarked: “The medical arrangements are being pushed forward with all speed and five hundred stretcher carriers have been ordered.”

Meanwhile, sandbagging operations for the protection of buildings and the provision of emergency shelters in the streets were to be seen throughout the city of Belfast.