Just under the surface of King’s Lynn’s historic Tuesday Market Place, two Second World War air raid shelters have been uncovered.
The shelters, which together hold around 400 people, have been uncovered during exploratory work ahead of a major £900,000 project to revamp the market place later this year.
Although it was known they were there, the structures have not been revealed for many years and have remained untouched and unseen.
One is opposite the Duke’s Head Hotel, and the other is towards the junction with Paige Stair Lane.
Now West Norfolk Council is asking if anyone has pictures or stories about the time they may have spent in the shelters during air raids in the war.
“It is always interesting when you uncover something like this. If anyone has any photos or stories about time they may have spent in the shelters, or any information they may have about the shelters since then, it would really help bring this piece of Lynn’s history to life,” said Elizabeth Nockolds, council cabinet member.
“The real surprise was how close the shelters were to the surface of the market place and the fact they appear to be in such good condition,” she added.
It is hoped that the shelters could be brought back into some sort of use in the future, although there are no immediate plans to do so.
The shelters are constructed from steel-reinforced concrete and are around eight to ten-feet deep.
Dr Clive Bond, chairman of the West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Archaeological Society, said the shelters had not been seen since the early 1950s.
The society has been involved in a project with a shelter in Kettlewell Gardens, Lynn. “People remember playing in and around them after the war and they are part of our living history,” said Dr Bond.
“The ones under the market place are larger. The area is very close to the river and the docks, which would have been a target,” he said.
“The old corporation, which was before the current council, tried to demolish the one in Kettlewell Lane – but failed.”