Mar 9 2011 by Judith Tonner, Airdrie & Coatbridge
World War II air raid shelter uncovered at Sunnyside station
THERE was a brief glimpse of the past at Sunnyside station last Wednesday when a newly-discovered air raid shelter was opened up.
Construction workers discovered the piece of hidden history from World War II as they prepared to begin the expansion of the car park at the Coatbridge station.
Staff from nearby Summerlee Museum excavated and photographed the shelter, which has now been demolished.
Now they are hoping to hear from former residents of the area who may have memories to share of using the facility in wartime.
Workers from North Lanarkshire’s transportation department first discovered the site of the previously unrecorded 30ft-long tunnel shelter.
Summerlee social history curator Jenny Noble said: “When we were first informed about it, we looked for any documentation of the shelter but couldn’t find anything.
“Air raid shelters were relatively common near railway stations, often incorporated into an existing tunnel; and we knew about one at Whifflet but couldn’t find anything on this one at Sunnyside.
“The shelter is probably bigger than I was personally expecting; it had benches down one side, for which we found the uprights, and may have had more benches down the middle.
“We suspect it was left open until at least the 1970s going by what was found in it – there were materials relating to the railway such as metal buckets with BR for British Rail on them, and railway lanterns. bottles and beer cans dating to that time.
“Most of what was there was in a poor state but some of the railway lanterns and measuring devices have been kept for reference.
“People have suggested that the shelter was associated with the Lamberton’s factory, but that’s on the other side of the railway so it’s more likely that it was used by rail workers or locals.
“This area was residential and we know that there were shops and houses there in around 1946; we’d love to hear from anybody who remembers it in wartime.”
Anyone with information on the newly-found shelter is invited to contact Jenny at Summerlee Gatehouse or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.