Call for protection for air raid shelters under for Ekco factory site in Southend

Southend Standard: Inside one of the shelters Inside one of the shelters

HISTORIANS have called for Second World War air raid shelters to be preserved after it emerged they had been blocked off by rubble.

A system of underground bomb shelters lies up to 25ft beneath the former Ekco factory site, in Priory Crescent, Southend.

The area has been earmarked for up to 250 homes, a new Fair Havens adult hospice and an office block.

But no legal protection exists for the 75-year-old tunnels, built to shelter the electronics firm’s 3,000 staff from German bombers, when the site is redeveloped.

While artefacts found in the shelters have been put into storage, calls have been made to preserve the entire complex and even turn it into a tourist attraction.

Marion Pearce, of Hamlet Road, Westcliff, who has had five local history books published, said: “It’s shocking. This is part of our history.

“I really do think they should be saved.

“They show the fears of the community at the time.”

Peter Brown, of Sutton Road, Southend, visited the tunnels when researching his book about the firm, Ekco Sounds.

He said: “They would have made an excellent museum.

“Had they been left in-situ, they would have been a tourist pull for Southend – a 1930s building with authentic air raid shelters.”

Southend Council commissioned Essex County Council’s archaeological unit to survey the shelters before insurer Aviva began demolishing the former Prittlebrook Industrial Estate buildings above in 2008.

All artefacts except the doors, which were considered to be too heavy, were removed and put into storage and will be displayed in the new £40million Museum of the Thames Estuary, planned for Southend Cliff Gardens.

Workmen then blocked off the shelters with rubble.

Southend councillors have called for an emergency meeting on the issue before the site is redeveloped.

Brian Ayling, Independent councillor for St Lukes, whose mother and two aunts worked at the site during the war, said: “These shelters, which I believe are a part of a significant underground complex, should be listed and preserved.

“They could even become a major tourist attraction.

“I have asked the council to identify the structures and to stop any further destruction of them.”

Peter Geraghty, the council’s head of planning and transport, said: “There is no protection in planning law for these shelters.

“The shelters would only have had some degree of protection if they had been listed by English Heritage or had been located within a conservation area – and these shelters were neither.”

Comments (26)

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9:31am Thu 3 Apr 14

Howard Cháse says...

Turn them into flats......
Turn them into flats...... Howard Cháse
  • Score: -27

9:33am Thu 3 Apr 14

Leighdweller says...

Preserve them! This town has very little left in the way of heritage, so let's do all we can.
Preserve them! This town has very little left in the way of heritage, so let's do all we can. Leighdweller
  • Score: 64

9:43am Thu 3 Apr 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Make a nice wine bar...
Make a nice wine bar... carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 10

10:07am Thu 3 Apr 14

Kim Gandy says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
Make a nice wine bar...
Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not.

It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago.

This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity.

Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all.

Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: Make a nice wine bar...[/p][/quote]Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not. It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago. This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity. Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all. Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant? Kim Gandy
  • Score: 2

10:35am Thu 3 Apr 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
carnmountyouknowitma

kessense
wrote:
Make a nice wine bar...
Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not.

It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago.

This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity.

Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all.

Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?
Thanks Gandy, truth be known, it will probably have to be filled in, so as not to compromise the foundation of the new builds, as for suggesting the 6 years of hell, do you do anything else, apart from stating the bleeding obvious ?
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: Make a nice wine bar...[/p][/quote]Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not. It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago. This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity. Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all. Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?[/p][/quote]Thanks Gandy, truth be known, it will probably have to be filled in, so as not to compromise the foundation of the new builds, as for suggesting the 6 years of hell, do you do anything else, apart from stating the bleeding obvious ? carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 10

10:36am Thu 3 Apr 14

Jack222 says...

We have far too many minor history places preserved in this country - it stifles development. I quite like the wine bar idea; it would preserve the building but give it a function. If not, I'd demolish it. The people who sheltered there wanted a better world and wanted change - that's why they all voted against Churchill at the end of the war.
We have far too many minor history places preserved in this country - it stifles development. I quite like the wine bar idea; it would preserve the building but give it a function. If not, I'd demolish it. The people who sheltered there wanted a better world and wanted change - that's why they all voted against Churchill at the end of the war. Jack222
  • Score: 4

10:57am Thu 3 Apr 14

Britanniaman says...

Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.
Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come. Britanniaman
  • Score: 11

11:27am Thu 3 Apr 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Britanniaman wrote:
Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.
Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....
[quote][p][bold]Britanniaman[/bold] wrote: Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.[/p][/quote]Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public.... carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 18

12:23pm Thu 3 Apr 14

ekcoanarak says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
carnmountyouknowitma

kessense
wrote:
Make a nice wine bar...
Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not.

It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago.

This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity.

Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all.

Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?
Good post.
Shame the lovely original building was allowed to be demolished, a true art deco icon.
Pearls to swine to some people.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: Make a nice wine bar...[/p][/quote]Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not. It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago. This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity. Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all. Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?[/p][/quote]Good post. Shame the lovely original building was allowed to be demolished, a true art deco icon. Pearls to swine to some people. ekcoanarak
  • Score: 6

12:32pm Thu 3 Apr 14

DannyK86 says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
carnmountyouknowitma

kessense
wrote:
Make a nice wine bar...
Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not.

It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago.

This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity.

Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all.

Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?
Oh do pipe down, won't you? Anyway, converting to a wine bar would be a very good way of preserving the structure.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: Make a nice wine bar...[/p][/quote]Said with your usual thoughtfulness, not. It could have been your grandparents sheltering down there 75 years ago. This development should respect the presence of these tunnels and shelters and do all it can to preserve them for posterity. Six years of hell endured by the people of this country, some of whom are still around and these serve as a reminder of what they went through. Imagine huddling 25ft below the ground wondering if you will still have a home or a workplace when you come out - or if you will come out at all. Show some respect for God's sake. Do you people have to be so ignorant?[/p][/quote]Oh do pipe down, won't you? Anyway, converting to a wine bar would be a very good way of preserving the structure. DannyK86
  • Score: 13

2:19pm Thu 3 Apr 14

A Soldiers Legacy says...

As someone who has grown up in the Southend area and served this country for nearly 18 yrs... This would be a great gesture by Southend Borough Council in their support for our Armed Forces Community to preserve this piece of history.. Afterall, if they can spend thousands on a cafe in the Civic Centre, then this as a tourist attraction and a mark of respect and a little piece of our WW2 history, honouring our veterans by preserving this, its the least they can do!!
As someone who has grown up in the Southend area and served this country for nearly 18 yrs... This would be a great gesture by Southend Borough Council in their support for our Armed Forces Community to preserve this piece of history.. Afterall, if they can spend thousands on a cafe in the Civic Centre, then this as a tourist attraction and a mark of respect and a little piece of our WW2 history, honouring our veterans by preserving this, its the least they can do!! A Soldiers Legacy
  • Score: 14

3:46pm Thu 3 Apr 14

DogsMessInLeigh says...

yes they must be preserved, surprised they have only just come to light.
yes they must be preserved, surprised they have only just come to light. DogsMessInLeigh
  • Score: 8

4:04pm Thu 3 Apr 14

sosad 1 says...

stop the whole scheme until it contains at least 50% social housing and affordable homes as the magazine private eye said in the 80s SBC the countrys most corrupt council nothings changed come on then SBC sue me
stop the whole scheme until it contains at least 50% social housing and affordable homes as the magazine private eye said in the 80s SBC the countrys most corrupt council nothings changed come on then SBC sue me sosad 1
  • Score: 2

5:28pm Thu 3 Apr 14

jolllyboy says...

I would bet money there was more there than we will ever know.
I would bet money there was more there than we will ever know. jolllyboy
  • Score: 2

5:35pm Thu 3 Apr 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
Make a nice wine bar...
Better than Blanco, no mullers overhead, oh the irony.....
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: Make a nice wine bar...[/p][/quote]Better than Blanco, no mullers overhead, oh the irony..... carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 0

6:33pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Diddy25 says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
Britanniaman wrote:
Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.
Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....
Think the one under Civic Centre maybe for the hobnobs or government personnel. Not for us plebs!!! I believe most 'councils' have one?
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Britanniaman[/bold] wrote: Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.[/p][/quote]Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....[/p][/quote]Think the one under Civic Centre maybe for the hobnobs or government personnel. Not for us plebs!!! I believe most 'councils' have one? Diddy25
  • Score: 6

6:40pm Thu 3 Apr 14

Diddy25 says...

At risk of repeating myself....In reply to comment on 'Southend Council's underground bunger' I believe most 'councils/government
s' have underground bunkers. All topnobs are protected in case of catastrophe, never mind us plebs!
At risk of repeating myself....In reply to comment on 'Southend Council's underground bunger' I believe most 'councils/government s' have underground bunkers. All topnobs are protected in case of catastrophe, never mind us plebs! Diddy25
  • Score: 4

7:08pm Thu 3 Apr 14

sosad 1 says...

if you know anything about a nuclear holocaust the people that go into the bunkers will have a more sad ending than us plebs that stay upstairs and kiss our jolly ****** goodbye!
if you know anything about a nuclear holocaust the people that go into the bunkers will have a more sad ending than us plebs that stay upstairs and kiss our jolly ****** goodbye! sosad 1
  • Score: 4

7:17am Fri 4 Apr 14

Louisajo says...

There is a cottage on Essex Way, Benfleet that dates from 1612. It's a local land mark and incredibly pretty.
The person who lived there died recently and now the cottage and it's garden have been sold - as a building plot. The cottage to this day has no hot water - the lovely man who lived there for many years, boiled water for washing etc. It's a wonderful piece of local history and just a stones throw from the Benfleet conservation area.
The garden could perhaps be built on but......If ever there was a building to be protected it's this one!
There is a cottage on Essex Way, Benfleet that dates from 1612. It's a local land mark and incredibly pretty. The person who lived there died recently and now the cottage and it's garden have been sold - as a building plot. The cottage to this day has no hot water - the lovely man who lived there for many years, boiled water for washing etc. It's a wonderful piece of local history and just a stones throw from the Benfleet conservation area. The garden could perhaps be built on but......If ever there was a building to be protected it's this one! Louisajo
  • Score: 7

7:48am Fri 4 Apr 14

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

Diddy25 wrote:
At risk of repeating myself....In reply to comment on 'Southend Council's underground bunger' I believe most 'councils/government

s' have underground bunkers. All topnobs are protected in case of catastrophe, never mind us plebs!
Glad to hear, you know your place, it's those illusionists of grandeur who think they would be allowed in, oh no, that is where the term Pleb originates...
[quote][p][bold]Diddy25[/bold] wrote: At risk of repeating myself....In reply to comment on 'Southend Council's underground bunger' I believe most 'councils/government s' have underground bunkers. All topnobs are protected in case of catastrophe, never mind us plebs![/p][/quote]Glad to hear, you know your place, it's those illusionists of grandeur who think they would be allowed in, oh no, that is where the term Pleb originates... Nowthatsworthknowing
  • Score: 1

8:33am Fri 4 Apr 14

johanuk says...

Leighdweller wrote:
Preserve them! This town has very little left in the way of heritage, so let's do all we can.
Indeed they should be preserved and open to the public, an extra attraction for Southend.........as once they are gone, it is forever! There is still a lot of interest in the history of the period of WW2.
[quote][p][bold]Leighdweller[/bold] wrote: Preserve them! This town has very little left in the way of heritage, so let's do all we can.[/p][/quote]Indeed they should be preserved and open to the public, an extra attraction for Southend.........as once they are gone, it is forever! There is still a lot of interest in the history of the period of WW2. johanuk
  • Score: 2

9:44am Fri 4 Apr 14

Letmetryagain says...

There are more in Priory Park
There are more in Priory Park Letmetryagain
  • Score: 3

10:53am Fri 4 Apr 14

beppo1 says...

Makes a change from digging up old bones!
Makes a change from digging up old bones! beppo1
  • Score: 2

11:58am Fri 4 Apr 14

highjinx says...

Diddy25 wrote:
carnmountyouknowitma

kessense
wrote:
Britanniaman wrote:
Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.
Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....
Think the one under Civic Centre maybe for the hobnobs or government personnel. Not for us plebs!!! I believe most 'councils' have one?
As long as the hobnobs are safe eh
[quote][p][bold]Diddy25[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Britanniaman[/bold] wrote: Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.[/p][/quote]Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....[/p][/quote]Think the one under Civic Centre maybe for the hobnobs or government personnel. Not for us plebs!!! I believe most 'councils' have one?[/p][/quote]As long as the hobnobs are safe eh highjinx
  • Score: -1

12:00pm Fri 4 Apr 14

highjinx says...

With the way the world is going they might be needed one day. 3000 lives could be saved if we ever go to war.
With the way the world is going they might be needed one day. 3000 lives could be saved if we ever go to war. highjinx
  • Score: -2

4:35pm Fri 4 Apr 14

poortaxpayer says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
Britanniaman wrote:
Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.
Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....
In the event of a nuclear attack the Civic Offices would have collapsed on top of the emergency bunker entombing all inside.
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Britanniaman[/bold] wrote: Keep it may be needed if Korea or even Russia try to start just never know what will happen in years to come.[/p][/quote]Not as big as the one under the Civic centre, now that bunker is awesome, only a shame, it's not open to Joe Public....[/p][/quote]In the event of a nuclear attack the Civic Offices would have collapsed on top of the emergency bunker entombing all inside. poortaxpayer
  • Score: 2

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