Mum finds untouched and intact WWII air raid shelter under house

A woman has been left stunned after discovering an untouched WWII air raid shelter in her tenement building.

Mia Gray, 33, unearthed the forgotten piece of history with her and other neighbours after believing it was an old store cupboard.

In December 2016, Mia moved into the property in Inverleith along with her husband and young sons but never gave the cupboard a second look until years later.

The mum-of-two told Edinburgh Live that it was only when a new neighbour, Liz Mowbray moved into the building and asked her about the space did she think to properly check it out – leading them to discover it's true purpose.

She said: "When we first moved in we just assumed it was a store cupboard in the basement, the door was slightly ajar but it just looked full of rubbish – old paint cans and carpet offcuts etc so we never ventured in.

"Then a new neighbour moved in and asked about it and discovered the rubbish didn’t belong to anyone that currently lived there so she arranged for it to be cleared out.

"When all the rubbish was gone it became obvious it had been used as an air-raid shelter."

A much larger space than expected, the room still contained a host of items that would have been used during air raids in the war for all the residents in the building.

Despite not being as much of a target as other cities like London, Edinburgh was still bombed during the war, with areas of Leith and the Forth Bridge both being prominent spots for strikes.

Prepared for all eventualities and long nights in the shelter, the room was still equipped with a number of items that would have helped residents be comfortable for extended periods of time.

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Mia added: "There is a bench that runs all the way around the walls, 'No Smoking' signs, an emergency exit, an old stove and two triple bunks, there were more I think but they were very damaged.

"The ceiling is reinforced with sheets of metal. It’s an old washroom so still has two sinks, a mangle and a boiler in it as well."

After sharing an image of the shelter online, Mia quickly learned that to have one so intact was a real rarity 75 years on from the war ends.

With a fantastic piece of history underneath her feet, Mia stated that the room being cluttered for so long is probably what saved it from ever being changed.

She continued: "I suspect a previous occupant used it as storage after the war and no one ever bothered to throw anything out. The washroom obviously wasn’t needed anymore so no one ever really went down there

"It’s such an interesting part of history especially after posting online and finding out it was quite an unusual find, I think the fact that the triple bunks are still there is quite unusual too."

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