A WIRRAL school has launched an ambitious project to restore and and reopen its World War II air raid shelters.
The underground shelters at Birkenhead High School Academy were opened in 1940, funded by parents after an appeal by headmistress Miss Stephen.
Pupils had been sent away to Shrewsbury – and the shelters were built to ensure it would be safe for them to return to their families and to school.
The shelters – two long passages which could seat 100 girls – were built underneath a grassy bank known as the Dell, with access from the school through a corridor leading from a cloakroom.
Although the grand opening of the shelters was captured on film, they were largely forgotten about until they were rediscovered during building work two years ago.
It is hoped a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow them to be reopened and used for community and school workshops about World War II.
The school’s fundraising, PR and marketing manager Nicky Matthews said: “The end of one of the shelters was blocked in the 1960s by building work but they are in very good condition.
“There is even pencil writing on one of the walls which says ‘J Winstanley – apprentice’.
“There was a grand opening ceremony for them in 1940 and both ourselves at the school and the Imperial War museum have colour footage.”
The school is applying for funding of £15,000 to pay for lighting, ventilation and other costs associated with the project and restoration work.
Nicky said: “I would love anyone with any memories to get in touch with me.”
The story of the shelters is recorded in Elizabeth Davey’s book Birkenhead High School: A History.
Anyone with information should call Nicky on 479 5627 or email email@example.com