Acle students bring history back to life for visitors to Bressingham museum
PUBLISHED: 13:01 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:31 14 March 2014
Hardworking pupils have helped bring history to life for visitors at a Norfolk museum after restoring a rusted relic of the Second World War.
The ancient Anderson shelter, which was bought online for just 50p, has been painstakingly renovated by students from Acle Academy.
And their five years of building, painting, patching up and repairs have now been put on show for all to see, after the shelter was donated to Bressingham Steam Museum.
Complete with bunk beds, benches and lanterns the air-raid refuge has been installed in the museum’s Dad’s Army section and will be a new attraction for visitors when it opens for the season on April 1.
Jeremy Bryant, life skills tutor at the academy, has led the restoration project with the students and said it had been a great experience for them.
He said: “It’s fascinating to see them when they get in it and sit down, you can see them imagining what it would have been like to sit in this during an air raid.
“It did make them think.”
The project was spearheaded by a history teacher at the school who was keen to get hold of an Anderson shelter to show the children. And while “idly looking” on Ebay, Mr Bryant came across the perfect purchase.
“One came up in a garden in Fakenham, buyer collects. I put a 50p bid in and got it,” he said. “There was a lot to it. We had to go and dig it up and unbolt it. I took a gang of boys up there, it was a two day job.”
The shelter was in good condition and after having it shot blasted the students then got to work on restoring it, fixing the odd hole with fibre glass and covering it in rust-proof paint. Others meanwhile made the wooden bunks and benches to go inside and the displays for the museum exhibition.
History lessons were also weaved in alongside the practical work, giving students a real hands-on grasp of the Second World War.
And everyone has been delighted with the end result.
Phillip Rooke, curator at Bressingham, said: “We’re really pleased with it, it’s far exceeded what we thought we would be getting from them.
“It’s not just a shell, they have provided us with more of an experience. It will complement the rest of the rest of our collection in the Dad’s Army section and it’s something else for our visitors to interact with.”