30 / 07 / 2018
World War Two air raid shelter opens at Wild Place Project
An air raid shelter from World War Two is being opened to the public at Wild Place Project for the first time in its history.
It was built in the early years of the 1939-45 war in what is now the sanctuary garden at the wildlife park on the outskirts of Bristol.
At the time the shelter was part of the Hollywood Estate which was owned by the White family, founders of the Bristol Aircraft Company.  And it may have helped safeguard some very distinguished guests.
Wartime documents have revealed that Winston Churchill visited the White family as did Queen Mary and Sir Robert Menzies.
So it is possible that the man voted as the greatest ever Briton could have sought safety in the shelter.
Today the shelter has been cleaned and restored and is temporarily opening to the public every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 2pm and 3pm from tomorrow (31st July 2018) until October 2018.
Visitors will be shown down the narrow flight of stone steps into the shelter which is more than three metres below ground.
They will be able to experience being in the shelter for themselves with its two train carriage shaped rooms with wooden benches along each wall where people sheltered during enemy raids.
The air raid shelter sits next to a new poppy garden in which all 117 varieties of the flower are represented.
The Sanctuary Poppy Garden was planted to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One this coming November 11.
It is also helping to support the Royal British Legion’s Thank You campaign which honours all of those who have “served, sacrificed and changed our world 1918-2018”.
Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project, said: “We are thrilled to be opening up this air raid shelters to give our visitors a real sense of what it was like here during the Second World War.
“To walk down the narrow steps is literally to follow in the footsteps of people from those days. It really does put you in touch with history.”
 Staff at Wild Place Project has also planted an allotment garden next to the shelters inspired by the Dig for Victory campaign of the Second World War.
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