The Air Raid Shelter

About 100m long, hundreds of people walk past this relic of World War 2 every day without noticing it. The play football, run about and even picnic on the low mound of its roof. They fail to see the very top of the main entrance peeping through the turf.

East entrance to the air raid shelter
East entrance to the air raid shelter

The minutes of Dunfermline Burgh Council meetings from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s give an outline of how an air raid shelter came to be built in Pittencrieff Park. The meeting minutes of 28th August 1939 make mention of a trench shelter already built in the Park just before war was declared.

Looking west along the mound of the air raid shelter
Looking west along the mound of the air raid shelter

The build of these basic air raid shelters reflected the design of trenches dug during World War 1. They sometimes ended up being roofed and fitted with beds and chemical toilets, which seems to be the case here.

The long, low mound of the shelter in the park is pretty typical of a shallow trench shelter that has been lined and given a roof. The very top of the entrance is still visible, at right angles to the main part of the structure. There is likely to be a second, emergency exit at the other end.

Entrance to Air Raid Shelter
Entrance to Air Raid Shelter

The air raid shelter is not on the national record and details of its construction are scanty, so the field school will aim to research its history, to plan its size and shape and to characterise its construction.

A report in the Dundee Evening Telegraph of 11th October 1940 mentions that public air raid shelters in Dunfermline were being vandalised. It would be interesting to discover if the Pittencrieff shelter suffered in this way.