Site Name: Pluckley - Domestic fallout shelter
Prebbles Hill Cottage
There is a small domestic fallout shelter in the rear garden of Prebbles Hill
Cottage, New Road, Pluckley (Kent). The shelter was built in June 1962 by Fall
Out Shelters (Deal, Kent) Ltd. at a cost of £920. It is described as their BX
model and is intended for 12 adults.
According to the company's brochure:
'These shelters are designed to withstand great stress and are virtually indestructible.
They will protect their occupants against all known nuclear hazards. They are
both blast proof and fall-out shelters. Fall Out Shelters (Deal, Kent) Ltd. build
every type of nuclear shelter to suit most areas and conditions. They are constructed
only of the best materials and are tested at every stage of manufacture. Family
shelters are designed for three, four, eight and twelve persons. We also design
special shelters to house more than 12 persons, for factories or offices etc.
Shelters are also designed for storing art treasures and valuables and in some
cases we can modify a cellar to suit certain shelter requirements in fringe or
rural areas. There are three types of shelter in production to suit any area in
Great Britain, the types A & B both accommodate four persons.
Their basic design is such that we can add other prefabricated sections to
the unit so that it will accommodate eight or twelve persons (Hence the BX at
Pluckley), with additional entrance and ventilator, fresh water tank system, goods
store and toilet. The length of time spent in a shelter in the event of a nuclear
explosion would be dependent upon the density of the radio-active fall-out. The
minimum time would be 48 hours, with a maximum of six or seven days. It is obvious
then that the shelter would be your home, with all your necessities and supplies
to hand. Remember it could be some time before services were resumed again, and
your shelter can hold supplies of food and water etc., for 30 days.
All shelters manufactured by Fall-Out Shelters (Deal, Kent) Ltd. (unless they
receive a direct hit) are 100% safe in a war of conventional weapons. The shelters
are blast-proof, fire-proof and damp proof. They are prefabricated, precast vibrated
concrete units, reinforced with steel and due to their unique design, will withstand
great stress. The three types of shelter in production are: 'A' type shelter -
Designed for industrial areas, cities, docks etc., where the possibility of a
nuclear attack would be most probable.
We consider this shelter will be 95% safe from nuclear hazard. if in the area
5 miles from ground zero of a 10- 15 megaton bomb, and 95% safe if one mile from
a 20 kiloton bomb. 'B' type shelter - This is essentially a fringe shelter by
our standards, although it is heavier and able to withstand greater stresses than
most front line continental shelters. It is considered 95% safe against nuclear
hazards at 6.5 - 7 miles from ground zero of a 10- 15 megaton bomb and 95% safe
2 miles from ground zero of a 20 kiloton bomb. 'C' type shelter - We endeavour
at all times to keep the cost of these shelters down to a minimum and the 'C' type
shelters have been designed especially for the man, his wife and one child.
It is the cheapest fall-out shelter in the world and although it was designed
with rural areas in mind, it can be strengthened to a fringe area shelter. We
consider it 95% safe 2.5 miles from ground zero of a 20 kiloton bonb. It incorporates
the same ventilating unit as 'A' and 'B' type shelters.' 'A good family shelter
will cost no more than a good second hand car. There are no running costs to consider
and of course no depreciation. It does not date, the are no survey fees to pay
and the foundation and erection are included in the cost.'
At the surface at Pluckley there are two hinged convex steel hatches and two
'mushroom' shaped air vents. The roof of the shelter is 1 metre below ground level
and the shelter is accessed by a removable steel ladder. The shelter takes the
form of a buried concrete cylinder 6.62 metres long and 1.7 metres wide. A flat
concrete floor divides the cylinder into two unequal parts giving a floor to ceiling
height of 1.8 metres. There is an access hatch at one end which canot be opened
but it would apear to lead to toilets and a battery compartment beneath the floor.
The manufacturers artists impression of a fully furnished type 'BX' shelter, which
this one never was, shows four double beds, cupboards and storage areas. It makes
the shelter look quite spaceous which it certainly isn't.
The toilets on the lower level must have been very cramped as they are shown
as less than half the height of the main 'living' area. The two rotary controls
for the vents protrude down from the roof necesitating a duck to avoid serious
head injury not that the beds would have left much room to walk around. Apart
from some rust on the rotary vent controls and the rotary control to the lower
level hatch, the shelter is still in good condition. The owner, Ken Rawlings,
has used it as a wine celler in the past but he found it was too damp so it is
now unused. He has considered removing the soil cover and the roof to create an
ornamental pond but has now been persuaded him to drop this idea.
It is interesting to note that the shelter was constructed 1 year after the
nearby underground ROC post, MAIDSTONE 30 (see ROC Post: Pluckley),
now also owned by Ken Rawlings, was opened. No doubt the then owner of the cottage
had a conversation with his ROC neighbours about the dangers of nuclear fall-out
in the event of an attack.
Last updated 18th January 2002
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