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Brighton Fringe Preview:

Take Shelter: Restored WW2 air-aid shelter welcomes visitors for Brighton Fringe 2022.

Brighton Fringe event ‘Take Shelter’ promises to take you back to the 1940s as it welcomes visitors to take a tour of the restored World War 2 air-raid shelter located underneath the playground of Downs Junior School, Rugby Road.

The shelter was built in 1939 and is currently the only school air-raid shelter open to the public in the UK.

The original air-raid shelter was restored by a team of volunteers in 2012 who have adapted the shelter to include a museum of original photographs, recreations of war-time bedrooms, films including stories of those who used the original refuge during the war, and a simulation of an air raid.

An event for all the family, ‘Take Shelter’ will provide a rare opportunity to step back in time, with authentic items and first-hand accounts being displayed all the way through the shelter.

Joy Rigby, a tour guide and volunteer at the shelter, said: “We had access to the school log books which were almost thrown away […] which have now been donated to The Keep, so we’ve got the information, like a really good diary of what actually happened down here.”

Take shelter is running its open weekends for the first time since 2019 as part of the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Ms. Rigby said: “The main reason we are running the tours at the weekend is to try and build an accessible entrance for people, to make the entrance twice as wide and at a gentler incline for those with disabilities and mobility issues.”

Visitors will be provided the opportunity to take a tour of the shelter and enjoy a 1940s-themed fair, including music and games, and the opportunity to talk to veterans over a tea and cake at one of the vintage-themed stalls.

The ‘Take Shelter’ event will be running on the weekends of the 14th /15th and 21st /22nd of May and is located at Downs Junior School, Rugby Road, BN1 6ED.

For more tickets and more information about what can be expected at the event visit

By Alicia McDermott

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May 2024