Many will have passed this small coppice at the junction of Rutland Road and Lady Bay Road and given no thought to the secret that lies beneath the overgrown shrubbery.
Those locals of more senior years may remember that during World War 2 a community air raid shelter was built on the site to house residents in times of aerial attack. The Lady Bay shelter is one of two that survive in the West Bridgford area, the other is located on Abbey Circus.
These shelters were in the thoughts of a local resident, Chris Reynolds, who has initiated a restoration project to elevate this piece of local history to the public eye.
Chris, a Professor of History and Memory Studies at Nottingham Trent University, is leading the project in collaboration with a range of local partners including Lady Bay Primary School, St Edmund Campion Primary School, the Lady Bay Community Association, the Heron Music Café, West Bridgford District and Local Historical Society, and Rushcliffe Borough Council.
Rushcliffe’s Mayor, Sue Mallender, Cllr. Richard Mallender and Cllr. Roger Upton are keen to learn more and are pictured here with Chris participating in an informal discussion about the project.
This project aims to bring these local historical sites to life through the creation of signage that will tell the story of the shelters and will include digital resources and educational activities. The shelters were opened in 1940 to accommodate up to 100 people along with many others in the area but only these two have survived. The Abbey Circus shelter is in better condition and is openly accessible to the general public. Some initial funding came from Nottingham Trent University to help get the project off the ground and further support from Rushcliffe Borough Council will help develop the sites.
The project team is keen to hear from any local residents with memories, material, or information on the history of the air raid shelters along with Anderson Shelters which could still exist in some back gardens. This could be from the Second World War but also from the late 1940s and 50s and the part they played in their childhood.
John Osborne, the organiser of The Heron Music Café which is regularly held at the Poppy and Pint pub in Lady Bay, is keen to get the elderly patrons of the café involved with the project.
Please get in touch with Chris at email@example.com.