The Grove Air Raid Shelters - Watford - Apr 2011


The LMS Railway, with some foresight one presumes, bought a large area of land near Watford along with it's now disused Manor House for use as their HQ in the event of a war, away from their current HQ in Euston Station. As events transpired, by Easter 1939 with the on going approach of WWII, the move had started in earnest, being known as Project X.

Extra space was required in addition to the manor house so a quite a few wooden huts were built around the estate, although not enough in time for the move. This meant that some people ended up working a three day week due to the constraints on space. As well as the huts and numerous other buildings, they eventually managed to build quite a collection of concrete air raid shelters, the one survivor being the subject of my pictures. With the rest long gone, the site is now a golf course and conference centre.

I would have to say, looking at their construction, that I personally felt they wouldn't stop a falling bag of sweats let alone a fuck off German WWII bomb tossing its nuts off all over them. Still, having said that, I did read that a few bombs where dropped on to the site but where they landed I don't know. Me, I reckon during a raid I would have taken my chances elsewhere other than in these shelters.

This is quite an interesting site if you like WWII relics and for while I did find it quite entertaining. It does give some really quite extraordinary photographic opportunities with the light pouring in through open man holes and entrances in to the pitch black below. A few bits and bobs are still in place, like the decayed benches, a few original light fixings and original signage. I'm not really sure why the owners don't tidy it up a bit and turn it into some kind of museum. The only down side; I would have to be honest and say it does get a bit samey after a while, with one corridor looking very much like another.

Remains of benches.



Another entrance.












Long view.



Electric lighting.



More signage.



More benches.



More choices.



Typical entrance.