If you look up the access road, through our front car park you can just about see the entrance to our one remaining air raid shelter. According to our school log book, several were built on the school grounds in 1940.
During the Second World War, Mary Beavis, our Headmistress was awarded the LARP (Local Air Raid Precautions) silver brooch for her efficiency in evacuating the children to these shelters. Mary’s surviving family have generously given the school her brooch which we proudly display alongside her Red Cross First Aid medal which she earned during the First World War for her work at the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) Hospital on Boston Road. She really was an amazing woman and a role model for our children today.
In the past, we have used the shelter to bring to life the experiences the children at the Alvey would have gone through during an air raid warning; there are two benches along each wall, it is dark and not particularly comfortable and today’s pupils are keen to get out again, as I’m sure they also would have been in the 1940s!
Project 72 was a community-based project in which we tracked down the names of the 72 children who attended the Alvey and then tragically fell during WW1. We worked with the artist, David Mackie, to make a permanent memorial, which you can now see on the front wall of the school next to the zebra crossing. This made us think we ought to do something for the ‘Old Alvey Boys’ who died in action during WW2.
We thought turning the air raid shelter into a ‘museum’, a little like Mrs Smith’s Cottage in Navenby, would be a suitable memorial and also serve as an interesting resource for the children at the school. Mr Mark Bamford , Chair of the Sleaford Museum Trust, is popping in on Monday to help us with our plans. We want to put in a glass door, special lighting, a sound system and some artefacts that the children would have actually taken into the shelters during an air raid. We are keen to make it weatherproof as quickly as possible, so the first thing we did was clear the debris from the roof, so we can make it watertight. I was worried I might fall through the roof, then remembered it was built to withstand bombing so I would probably be okay! Once we get the door and the lights in, we will give you another update and hopefully, once all COVID restrictions have been removed, we can have a grand opening.