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Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 17:47 UK
Sutton bomb shelter discovered by council workers

Air raid shelter in Sutton
The air raid shelters would have housed up to 450 local residents during an attack

Council workers cleaning up at Sutton Green have discovered an old disused air raid shelter from the Second World War.

The workers noticed a five metre hole in the ground and it is thought to be the roof of a buried air raid shelter which has collapsed.

The only council records mentioning the public bomb shelter are that three large shelters capable of housing 450 people were constructed in the area in 1939/1940.

However, there are no photographs or records of the completed shelters or information kept by the then Sutton and Cheam Council about when they were covered over after the war.

Sutton Council has launched an appeal for information from any residents who may remember when the shelters were open.

Museums Service historian John Phillips said it appeared the shelters had trenches and were made of concrete slabs - common in public bomb shelters. It is unclear at this stage whether this is one large shelter or three separate buildings.

Air raid shelter in Sutton
This aerial shot outlines the air raid shelter

"The building of it would have been ordered by the Government of the day for people who couldn't afford an Anderson shelter in their garden or who didn't have a garden.

"That area of Sutton had a lot of terraced housing at the time so they possibly wouldn't have had room for a shelter of their own.

"We would love to hear from anyone that remembers the shelter as it adds a new dimension to the story."

An aerial picture of the site shows the outline of the shelter with the walls. It appears the recent dry weather has caused the grass immediately above the walls to die off.

A close-up of the sunken shelter shows excavation work exposing the lintel of one of the entrances.

It is hoped by the end of the week a large amount of the structure will be revealed.

If you have photographs or information which could shed some light on the hole on Sutton Green please contact Kath Shawcross at Sutton's Archive Collection on 020 8770 4745.

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