Anderson Bomb Shelters - Bed Frames

Many families followed government advice to build bunk beds for their shelters. Those for adults ran along the sides of the shelters, and the children's ran across the back.    They had wooden edges and wire bases - and can't have been at all comfortable, especially as the adult beds were only c.4'6" long.

Here are some photos of the adult frames, including maker's marks along the side.


Matt Saunders has recreated a shelter from scratch, and this photo of his shelter shows clearly how the bunk beds slotted into each other.  The feet of the four adults were intended to go under the two children's bunks.

Official Advice

Here are the official instructions.  Click the image to enlarge it.  The text reads ...



- and the help that is ready if your home is hit

With very little trouble you can make your Anderson steel shelter a comfortable sleeping place for your family.  Four adults and four babies, for instance, or four adults and two older children can sleep in a standard Anderson shelter 6 ft. 6 ins. in length.

All the tools you need are hammer, saw, and pliers that will cut wire.  The materials are a few feet of timber, not less than 1¼” square, some nails and and some canvas (or hessian , burlap, sheet wire netting or similar material).


Look at the diagram of the arrangement of bunks and you will at once get the idea.   The top bunks run from one end of the shelter to the other, the sides resting on the angle-irons that run across the shelter at each end.  These bunks should be 20 inches wide and about 4 ft 6 ins. long.  The lower bunks are the same size, but rest on the floor on legs 4 ins. high.


The cross bunks for the children are about 4 ft 4 ins. long, and have four legs each 16(?) ins. high which rest on the side pieces of the upper and lower bunks.  The cross bunks can be up to 2 ft. wide.  The legs must be added on inside the shelter. 

Fix canvas, hessian etc. across the bunks and the job is finished. 

These hints are taken from a very helpful leaflet which is being issued by all local authorities to all who have Anderson shelters.


... and make plans to go ans stay with them, or for them to come and stay with you, if either of your homes is knocked out. 

Help is coming

If you can't make your own arrangements and you have to leave your home go to a Rest Centre.  Ask your warden where it is.  There you will get food and clothes and somewhere to sleep.  You will be given advice on your problems and help in finding a new home.

If your gas is cut off

There may be a communal feeding centre nearby where you can get hot meals at very low prices.  Find out about it and if there isn't one, fix up to eat with friends or relations.



Binns Bunk Beds

The bunk bed below was advertised for sale in Binns Department Store, Middlesbrough in 1940.  49 shillings and sixpence is also two pounds, nine shillings and sixpence - i.e. £2.475 in decimal currency.

The text reads:

Made locally by Middlesbrough Casements Ltd.  Being designed on sound engineering principles this Bunk is absolutely right.  It is made in sections and can therefore be used in any Air Raid Shelter.  Easily constructed – you only need a screwdriver.  Fitted with Steel Wire Mesh mattresses which, used in conjunction with Flock bolster provide a high degree of resilient comfort.

(Sunderland-based Binns were taken over by House of Fraser in 1953 but continued to operate as a separate chain in the North East of England until losing its separate identity in 2006.)