Air Raid Shelters


Heywood had 299 air raid shelters during World War 2.

Of these, 239 were brick surface and 60 were semi-underground.

Each brick shelter cost £400 to erect and was made up of 12,000-15,000 bricks.

By 1954 there were 156 shelters left.

Can you help?


I am trying to get a complete (as possible) list of the air raid shelter locations. Can you add to this list?

Also, any photographs of air raid shelters would be appreciated. Special thanks to all the people on the 'Remembering Heywood' Facebook page who have helped with this.

Total shelters listed so far: Approx. 110

  • Abbey Crescent, near the Roach Mill chimney. 
  • Abbey Crescent, ‘Big Back’, a large red brick one with a concrete roof. I’ve also been told of “two brick shelters up Abbey Cres not nice to go into used to sit under the table and hope for the best!” 
  • Adam Street, near Talbot pub, now supermarket car park 
  • Two on the Angel Meadow 
  • Rear of Ann Street 
  • Two in the triangle of Ann Street, Miller Street, and Shadwell Street East 
  • Back of Argyle Crescent. Pulled down around 1970. 
  • Argyle Street on the edge of the rec 
  • Ashworth Valley, near the Old Hall, but in the woods 
  • Aspinall Street, behind where the Blackmiths House and Furnace used to be 
  • Bamford Road school, two underground, near to Bamford Rd in the corner of the yard. Maybe more on the senior boys area. “We all went down when the sirens sounded we had a Horlicks sweet to chew.” (Joyce Whittaker) 
  • "I think the ones at Bamford Road school were actually the cellars, the solid fuel boilers were down there along with the coke. They went for a long way, a lot of old stuff was stored down there. The school was built around 1906 before World War 1, so any air raid shelters would have been built as separate buildings from the school. The cellars may have been used as shelters but whether you could term them as 'air-raid shelters' I don't know. This could apply to all the old schools in Heywood.” (Barbara England) 
  • Bamford Road/Lever Street 
  • One on the dirt road near Bamford Road/Claybank Street junction (called Melieu Street, spelling uncertain) 
  • Top of Barley Hall Street, right hand side 
  • Birtle, near St John’s Church 
  • Bit Bats 
  • Bradshaw Street, two, facing Roe Acre, underground shelters 
  • Brookland gardens 
  • Bullough Moor fields. “Several underground ones by the edge of the railings on the football field facing Bullough Moor bowling green, the tops of these are still there.” 
  • “The shelters were at the back going under the field you went down about 20 stone steps there were forms down each side all Regent St /high street/ rosehill st Windsor ave went down with our gas masks.”(Maureen Allen) 
  • Two in Bullough Moor school playground, underground shelter 
  • One at the side of the newspaper shop at the end of Higher Lomax Lane/Bury New Road. I’ve also been told about one on Bury New Road, near the garage. Could be the same one. 
  • Bury Street, near the Crown pub 
  • Cedar Avenue, bottom end (brick) 
  • Chamber House 
  • Channing Street – where is this? 
  • Near Cherwell Court/Peel Lane 
  • Underground shelter on Church Street in front of GPO auto exchange building 
  • Coomassie Street, across road from no.51 was there until late 1960s 
  • Fox Street, two 
  • Garden Street, two, underground. I have been told there was one on Garden Street opposite the swimming pool, and also one on Corcoran Close, West Starkey Street. These might be the same ones? 
  • Two underground in the Garrison Mill yard, Gregge Street 
  • Back of the bungalows at the end of the alley way behind George Street. I’ve also been told about one “behind the bungalows at the bottom of Cedar Ave across from the Grapes.” This could be the same one. 
  • One between 24 Gorton Street and East Ward Working Men’s Club. “Underground shelter by the lodge at the Gorton Street end been filled in but entrance is still visible.” 
  • Junction of Gregge Street/Robert Street 
  • Grosvenor Street, brick shelter 
  • Grove Street 
  • Harwood Park school. “Harwood Park school shelter was purpose built it ran under the playground and contained benches. I only remember being in there once (singing hymns).” (Ron/Anne Fitton) 
  • Heap Bridge school, in the ground at the back of the school 
  • Heap Brow, right-hand side going up 
  • Hind Hill Street, back of old markets 
  • Two brick community shelters in the rear of Hind Hill Street on the green between back of Hind Hill Street and Wilton Grove 
  • Hooley Bridge, corner Bamford Road/Mine Street (underground). “There were 5 or 6 in the field across the road from William R Lees Hooley Bridge, we used some of them for changing and sheltering from the rain when we played football as kids.” (Stewart Irvine) 
  • Hopwood County school, in the old playground 
  • Middleton Road, Hopwood Rec, underground shelter. Also corner of Hopwood Rec near school behind Charles Street. 
  • Hornby Street schools. “Very big one in the playground of Hornby St school I went in them during the war when the planes came over as did all the children in the School. Otherwise we used to sit under the Table till they had all gone over. The worst night was when they dropped Bombs on Manchester. Over the Railway lines at the bottom of Nelson St where I lived everything was on fire a sight I will never forget.” (Betty Thornley) 
  • James Street 
  • John Street, opposite Willow Street 
  • Brick community shelter on the green to the rear of Manchester Street/Wilton Grove and Rochdale Road. 
  • Top of Margaret Street behind Bury Street, another at the back of Margaret Street behind Agincourt Street. Both brick ones. 
  • Marlborough Street 
  • Merrick Street, Hopwood 
  • Mills Street 
  • Moss Hall Road, just before the railway bridge on the left hand side 
  • Mutual Mills. “Underground shelter Mutual Mills the entrance can still be seen as you look across the lodge towards Gorton Street.” “A big set of arched ones at the back of mutual mill, they are bricked up.” 
  • Nelson/Cobden Street (still under garden) 
  • Orchard Street, two facing old All Souls’ School. Were known as ‘the Skellies’. 
  • Peel Lane. “There were four brick built concrete topped ones in what we called the 'four blocks' when we were kids, Ash, Oak, Bay and Peel Lane.” 
  • Phoenix football ground 
  • End of Princess Street, at the Waggon Road end 
  • Prospect Place 
  • Some at the top of Railway street, underground shelters 
  • One in the field in railway street opposite Heywood station until the 1960s 
  • Railway Terrace 
  • Regent Street 
  • “There were air raid shelters behind our house at Sefton hollows below Sefton Street running parallel with the railway lines. They were built partly underground. Not far from the level crossing.” (Lesley Crowther) 
  • Between Smith Street and Rochdale Lane 
  • Rear of Springfield Street. Also been told about one at ‘Todd’s Brew’. Could be the same one. 
  • St James Street, opposite Barkers mill, underground shelter 
  • St Luke’s School playground, north west corner 
  • Between the houses on South Street and Rose Hill Street 
  • One behind 132 Starkey Street 
  • Two in Tonge Street, one behind each side of the street. I’ve also been told about “One behind Tonge & Buckley St”, this could be one of these two. 
  • Union Street/Heady Hill school 
  • Back of Unity Street 
  • Victor Street, Hopwood 
  • In the coal yard at the junction of Victoria Street/Clive Street – where is this? 
  • One halfway down Wham Street behind 2/4 Gaskill Street, and one in the old small grass hills that is now 34/36 Gaskill Street, in front of the old pens 
  • Wilton Street, brick shelter 
  • Windy Bank – where is this? 
  • York/Adelaide Street 

12 comments:

  1. I remember the ones on Bradshaw Street, they were underground. Probably still there till Planet Play was built

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  2. Roy Taylor, Harwood Park/Hornby Street school shelters were both underground. Brick community shelter on the green to the rear of Manchester Street/Wilton Grove and Rochdale Road. Underground shelter on Church Street in front of GPO auto exchange buiding. Two brick community shelter rear of Hind Hill Street on tthe green between back of Hind Hill Street and Wilton Grove. Also several Anderson shelters in individual back yards.

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  3. Hi, I use to live at 132 Starkey St, There was one behind our house I never actually saw it but remember the foundations for it we use to have our bonfire on it. The one I do remember was behind Miller St/ Shadwell St East & Ann St. As kids we use to try and get into it, Think it got pulled about 1970, plus I think there was one behind Tonge & Buckley St, it was at the back of the mill that made gloves, Hope this helps, it would be good to see where they were all was. Cheers David Nuttall.

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  4. Hi I lived at 71 Cedar Ave and there was one in our back garden going down the back, my Dad flagged the back with the tops when it was knocked down, ( most likely still there) Also Underground ones on Pilsworth Rd ,the ones in Bamford Rd School yard, one in lower yard and one in top yard, we sat on steps at playtime, but the doors was bricked up, then they filled up the steps levelling the yard, another was on Oak St near the allotments, can't think of any others Audrey

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  5. I lived at 71 Cedar Ave 1945 and we had one in our back garden it went down the back my Dad flagged the back garden with the tops when it was knocked down, ( most likely still there) one on Oak street near the allotments, Pilsworth Rd underground ones near bottom Tower St, remember sitting on steps of underground shelters in Bamford Rd school yard, one in lower yard and one in top yard, doors had been bricked up , then steps where filled in and levelled,

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  6. Reading down the list of Air raid shelters, some more I think I can add are, back of Agincourt St between New York St and Kershaw St, Pilsworth Road behind Bridge Inn (brick House).
    When Millbank House off Nellie St was about to be pulled down I can remember see one underground in the front gardens at the top end away from Nellie St.
    There was one at the corner of Garden St/West Starkey St
    Channing St was off Todd St now is called Edgeworth Close
    hope this is of help



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  7. i remember in the late 70 early 80 as a kid the bullough moor shelter steps going down which where later backfilled. also at one point a square hatch was removed which was parrallel to the steps. when you looked down 4 corridors extended in all directions. one towards the stairs one away from the stairs. one towards the school and one towards the centre on the field. i assume its all still there just buried. you can see concrete bits in intervals along the long grass part on the field

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  8. there were two concrete and brick shelters on the site of what is now queen st. nursery. one opposite hartland st. the other opposite holland st. we used to use the holland st. one. windy bank was on hartley st. behind york st. congregational church and atkinsons printers on church st. which is now the telephone exchange. it was pronounced wind as you would a ball of wool. i was brought up in hilda st. and went to st.lukes school. the shelter we used was in the school yard it had two entrances behind the school house and went back under the houses on starkey st.

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  9. my uncle lives on bury old road and has an underground shelter in his back garden, it has a steep stairwell leading down to two rooms, me and my cousins used to play in there as kids. apparently quite a few houses on bury old road have underground air raid shelters.

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  10. I was at Bullough Moor from 1959 to 1966...my Dad was Headmaster there from about 1948 to 1968. There were two sets of stairs leading from the playground down into the shelters built under the playing fields at the back of the school. Needless to say they were bricked up but I remember a square hatch being broken open and being able to see down into the corridor of the shelter below. Not much to report..damp with bits of debris. - Martin Johnson

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  11. I was at Bullough Moor from 1959 to 1966...my Dad was Headmaster there from about 1948 to 1968. There were two sets of stairs leading from the playground down into the shelters built under the playing fields at the back of the school. Needless to say they were bricked up but I remember a square hatch being broken open and being able to see down into the corridor of the shelter below. Not much to report..damp with bits of debris. - Martin Johnson

    ReplyDelete