Air Raid Shelter, Stockport

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Trips & Adventures – 12 September 2019

It only takes only a few minutes to travel from Piccadilly train station to Stockport train station, and there are trains every few minutes. After the difficulty and expense of getting to the Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre last week, it was a bit of a relief to have a local trip.

We walked to the Calvert’s Court, a Wetherspoon’s pub in the town centre. It was just like any other Wetherspoon’s pub, but we had some good conversations with the usual “Carry On” double entendres. We discussed how younger people seem to be at ease with terms like “queer” while some older people are still struggling with “gay”.

Again it was only a short walk to the Air Raid Shelters – a system of almost one mile of underground tunnels dug under Stockport during World War II to protect local inhabitants during air raids.

Four sets of underground air raid shelter tunnels for civilian use were dug into the red sandstone rock below the town centre. Preparation started in September 1938 and the first set of shelters was opened on 28 October 1939; Stockport was not bombed until 11 October 1940. The smallest of the tunnel shelters could accommodate 2,000 people and the largest 3,850. It was subsequently expanded to take up to 6,500 people.

The largest of the Stockport Air Raid Shelters have been open to the public since 1996 as part of the town’s museum service.

After our visit we decided to have a tea or coffee. We spotted a small cafe called “In or Out”. The question was: “Were we In or were we Out”? However, the young woman behind the counter was more interested in her telephone conversation than dealing with customers, so we walked out. Mr Essoldo suggested we try the Plaza. The building is in the Art Deco style and was built in 1932. The service was excellent and it was an enjoyable end to our visit.

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