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Former First World War Air Raid Shelter to the rear of 8 Bredfield Road, Woodbridge

A Grade II Listed Building in Woodbridge, Suffolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1003 / 52°6'1"N

Longitude: 1.3141 / 1°18'50"E

OS Eastings: 627076

OS Northings: 249843

OS Grid: TM270498

Mapcode National: GBR WQ5.91N

Mapcode Global: VHLBP.QGKS

Entry Name: Former First World War Air Raid Shelter to the rear of 8 Bredfield Road, Woodbridge

Listing Date: 11 January 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1443491

Location: Melton, East Suffolk, Suffolk, IP12

County: Suffolk

District: Suffolk Coastal

Civil Parish: Melton

Built-Up Area: Woodbridge

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Summary


First World War air raid shelter, built around 1915 by William Marjoram.

Description

First World War air raid shelter, built around 1915 by William Marjoram.

MATERIALS: of concrete with the entrance chamber being of knapped flint with a concrete tile roof.

PLAN: the above ground entrance chamber stands on a north-east to south-west alignment and is rectangular-on-plan. The underground shelter is cylindrically shaped.

EXTERIOR: the shelter's entrance chamber is in the form of a gabled outbuilding with concrete quoins to knapped flint walls and a deep concrete-coped gable to a concrete-tiled roof. Its entrance is in the north-east gable end wall and comprises a wooden door set beneath a triangular-pedimented concrete hood.

The earthen ground above the dome of the shelter, which lies immediately to the north-north-west of the entrance chamber, is raised around 1 metre above the level of the surrounding ground surface and is revetted with concrete and masonry blocks and concrete kerb edging. Standing on the raised ground surface is a chimney pot which is filled with concrete and conceals a cast-iron downpipe which was used as a ventilation duct. A second cast-iron downpipe, also used as a ventilation duct, stands at the north-north-west edge of the raised ground surface.

INTERIOR: a small hole in the floor of the entrance chamber provides access to a thirteen-step spiral staircase which descends to a narrow tunnel measuring 1.2m long by 0.9m high by 0.5m wide. The tunnel leads to a cylindrically-shaped shelter with a domed roof with a maximum height of 2.7m at its centre. The walls of the shelter are constructed from curved concrete blocks and has a bench seat running round its circumference. Scriptures from the Old Testament are etched into the concrete walls of the entrance chamber and one row of blocks in the shelter.

History

Germany’s strategic bombing campaign during the First World War started in January 1915 using airships. By the end of the war the German Navy and Army Luftstreitkräfte mounted over 50 bombing raids on the United Kingdom. Although both Zeppelin and Schütte-Lanz airships were used, these events were generally referred to as ‘Zeppelin raids’. On 12–13 August 1915, four Zeppelins were directed against London, with three turning back early. Only L10, commanded by Oberleutnant-zur-See Wenke, made landfall. Having come inland just south of Lowestoft at 9:25pm and facing a strong headwind, Wenke decided to abandon London in favour of Harwich. Heading south, L10 dropped what are believed to have been two petrol tanks in fields at Badingham, followed by two flares in fields at Gelham Hall, Wickham Market. An incendiary, which caused no damage, was then dropped in a field at Pettistree. The next incendiary fell on the outskirts of Woodbridge, at Melton, on the Wickham Market to Woodbridge road. Arriving over Woodbridge around 10:20pm, men of the 2nd/3rd London Infantry Brigade engaged L10 with machine gun and rifle fire. Wenke responded by dropping four explosive and twenty incendiary bombs on the town. A bomb which landed on the pavement outside 1 St John’s Hill claimed six lives, while bombs also fell on Castle Street, Bredfield Street, Burkitt Road, Seckford Road and the Ipswich Road. A further seven residents were also injured. After Woodbridge, L10 dropped three incendiary bombs in a field at Kesgrave, before encountering gunfire from a mobile anti-aircraft battery at Rushmere near Ipswich. L10 dropped a further four incendiary bombs before turning away to avoid defensive fire and continued towards Harwich, where it dropped eight explosive and four incendiary bombs on the Parkeston area of the town. It then headed north and dropped two bombs between Fagbury Cliff and Trimley St Martin before heading out to sea at Aldeburgh at about 11:35pm. Four aircraft went up from RNAS Yarmouth but all experienced engine problems and returned early without seeing L10. In response to this air raid, Woodbridge resident William Marjoram (1849-1935), a local builder, constructed a private air raid shelter in the rear garden of his home at number 8 Bredfield Road, which he also built in 1895. Marjoram also built numbers 10, 12 and 14 Bredfield Road in the same year.

Reasons for Listing

The First World War air raid shelter in the rear garden of 8 Bredfield Road, Woodbridge, built by William Marjoram around 1915, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* it displays considerable architectural merit in its detailing and craftsmanship.

Historic interest:

* as one of only two purpose-built First World War air raid shelters known to survive in England;

* as a striking remnant of the first strategic bombing campaign in history.

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