Morrison Shelters

Although this website focusses on Anderson Shelters, readers may find it helpful to have this information about Morrison 'Table' Shelters which were also widely distributed during World War 2. They were of particular value to those who did not have a garden in which to build an Anderson Shelter, and they also had the advantage that they were used indoors and so were neither cold, dark and spider infested, nor subject to water-logging.

The shelters came in assembly kits, to be bolted together inside the home. They were approximately 2 m long, 1.2 m wide and 0.75 m high, had a solid 3 mm steel plate “table” top, welded wire mesh sides, and a metal lath “mattress”- type floor. The rectangular holes in the mesh were 2 inches by 6 inches - and it is interesting that such mesh is no longer routinely manufactured these days - the holes are generally much smaller. Altogether, the shelter had 359 parts and had 3 tools supplied with the pack. The shelter was provided free to households whose combined income was less than £400 per year (£22,000 in 2015).

Half a million Morrison shelters had been distributed by the end of 1941, with a further 100,000 being added in 1943 to prepare the population for the expected German V-1 flying bomb (doodlebug) attacks. In one examination of 44 severely damaged houses it was found that three people had been killed, 13 seriously injured, and 16 slightly injured out of a total of 136 people who had occupied Morrison shelters; thus 120 out of 136 escaped from severely bomb-damaged houses without serious injury. Furthermore it was discovered that the fatalities had occurred in a house which had suffered a direct hit, and some of the severely injured were in shelters sited incorrectly within the houses.

Further information can be found in Wikipedia and the Imperial War Museums website.

This photo of two restored shelters shows the comparative size of Anderson and Morrison shelters.

The wartime government tested the strength of Morrison shelters by demolishing a bomb-damaged house on top of a shelter containing a mannequin. Here are the before and after photos.

And here are two wartime propaganda photos:

The metal from Morrison shelters was often recycled after the war. These photos show ex-shelter angle irons being used as a fence post, and to hold up an asbestos wall of a garage.