Homes during the war had to change to compensate for the new ways of life that were emerging.
Some of the things that changed in many homes were;
– Windows were sandbagged against bomb blasts to stop fragments of glass going everywhere.
– Bedding was downstairs or in shelters if that was what was used instead of a shelter.
– First aid kits were easily accessible encase of injury from blasts etc
– Gum and paper was used for sealing cracks and gaps in homes in preparation for gas attacks. For this reason vents were also blocked.
– Stirrup pumps and water in buckets were placed for fire fighting encase they were needed after a blast.
– Gas marks were kept nearby in occupied rooms.
– Sand in buckets with a shovel were placed encase there was an incendiary bomb was dropped.
– Wireless sets were kept close for updates and entertainment.
– Tinned food was more common as fresh food became more rationed.
– Fireplaces, and sometimes doors were also blocked/sealed against poison gas attacks.
– Ceilings were supported with wooden props so as to strengthen them against blasts.
– Windows were taped so that if the glass breaks, it didn’t go everywhere.
– blackout curtains were used
– Pole fencing and earth filled soap boxes were put in place to shield doorways.
– Street lighting wasn’t used in the blackout so that German bombers couldn’t easily identify target towns and cities by their light. For this reason bike lights were taped up, and car lights dimmed.
– Homes often had a “victory garden” where they would grow vegetables and fruit in their gardens or allotments. Soil could be placed on roofs of Anderson shelters and extra plants could be grown on this.
– To keep warm in their Anderson shelters, people used oil lamps to see and a flower pot heater (a candle under an upturned flowerpot.)
– Iron railings were taken away from garden boundaries to salvage as scrap metal to melt down and use in munitions factories.
The two types of shelters people had in their homes were Anderson shelters (pictured below) and Morrison shelters. Anderson shelters were shelters made of corregated steel or iron that were half buried in gardens. They were 6 and a half feet long and by 4 and half feet wide. Many were given away free but those with a big enough income had to pay £7. Morrison shelters were shelters made from heavy steel, and were cage-like in appearance. If people didn’t have a garden, they could shelter under them during air raids. They were 6 and half feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 and half feet high. These were often used as tables.
Morrison shelters in a way were better as Anderson shelters were cramped, cold, dark, often flooded and all the noise from outside could still be heard. Whereas Morrison shelters were inside so it was quieter, warmer and more comforting, especially as you didn’t have to run outside in the middle of the night. However, Morrison shelters could be more dangerous because if the house had a direct hit from a bomb, the occupants of the house could be buried inside their shelter and no-one would know.
Blackout curtains were heavy black pieces of material used in the war. They were important because at night they blocked out all light coming out from a house into its surroundings. It was important to do this so German bombers couldn’t be aided in their aiming by light being emitted and highlighting their target.
A wireless was an early radio that many people had in their homes. It was important because it gave updates on news events of the war, but also entertained people during the long nights or days and helped to keep up moral.