A piece of Greenford’s modern history lies unnoticed close to a playground. This concrete square probably caps a sealed ventilation shaft for a public air raid shelter. By the late 1930’s the British government was organising civil defence, including the construction of shelters for those without gardens to build their own or caught in the street. I could see six of these squares spread across sloping ground near Oldfield Lane South, as well as a group of small slabs which could indicate the entrance. After the war it was easier to seal these structures with concrete that remove them and many public spaces across the UK have bumpy areas that indicate their presence. Even so, most people are oblivious to these life saving shelters where Greenford residents must have spent many anxious hours waiting for sirens to give the all clear.
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