Lancashire At War.co.uk
Exploring the hidden history of War sites in Lancashire
Home Guard Stores / Small Arms Stores
This building (on Holcombe Road, Bury) was one of the first the got me interested in looking for "lost" or "forgotten" remnants of the Wars. For years I drove past it thinking it was a disused public toilet. Then one day I realised it couldn't be! So what was it? A Google Image search came up with similar buildings (See the Airfield Information Exchange link on this page). It is next to Stormer Hill Fold, where the first leader of Tottington's Home Guard lived. Any connection? It is listed on the H.E.R. as "a WW1 or WW2 building".
Some people think they were Air Raid Shelters and they are similar to some surface shelters. But those shelters are usually much larger. You wouldn't fit many people in these. There are similar buildings on airfields where they were Small Arms Dumps/Stores. These are often next to main roads. Easily viewed and not particularly hidden. Neither is on any land belonging to a house or any other building. There are a few houses nearby - but would they all try and fit in if there was an air raid? No, these are Small Arms Stores or Home Guard Stores - places where ammunition and supplies were kept.
Nestled next to the main road, partly hidden by a wall. Sat in the corner of a farmer's field.
Above Left: Inside the building looking out through the entrance at the "blast wall".
This building (Above) on Rochdale Road between Bury and Rochdale is pretty much identical to the above one in Tottington, Bury. Except that its "blast wall" faces the main road rather than being side on to it. It also doesn't have the "window" that the Tottington one has (though there is evidence it could have been bricked up?). It has a neighbour, an electricity substation made of different (later & better quality) brick.
Again it is situated next to a main road. But it is not hidden in any way. The bottom picture shows that this is the site of an old quarry (the hill behind has been quarried out as you can see). The fact that this bit of land seems to be not of private ownership makes you wonder who belonged to?
This building is in Dickens Wood near Alderley Edge.
It doesn't have a blast wall.
It is not the same size as the other buildings shown above.
But we wondered if it was in some way associated with the war. We asked for people to get in touch if they knew anything - thankfully someone did!
Colin Thomson contacted us and said the following:
"re dikens wood alderly edge, its an old police radio room, the telegraph pole on the right of the picture is where the UHF antenna was mounted, i know because i had to fix it there, i still have the door key on my bunch of radio site keys, i am retired now but it was still in use some 15-20 years ago!"
Many thanks, Colin, for getting in touch and solving that one.
The one that wasn't.......
Over to Yorkshire:
According to the Defence of Britain database thes are two Home Guard Stores in Yorkshire.
They are in neighbouring villages Grosmont and Egton Bridge in North Yorkshire.
ABOVE: On the edge of a field by the roadside in Grosmont is this Home Guard Store from WW2.
BELOW: Again, on the edge of a field by the roadside in Egton Bridge is this Home Guard Store from WW2.
Neither has a blast wall, though both once had wooden doors in place. The Egton Bridge one does not have wooden vents or lattice at the top of the door - what you can see is what is left of someone's attempt to block up the doorway.
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The Above photos are of a Small Arms Store in Drinkwater Park, Prestwich, Greater Manchester.
Unlike the others on this page it is some way from the main road. We wonder if it was linked to wartime events in the park. See our Drinkwater Park Page HERE