Today, Birkenhead High School Academy has received £81,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, Reliving the Blitz, Birkenhead High School Academy’s Underground Shelters Restoration Project. Led by volunteers from the local community, school pupils and staff after school and during lunchtimes, the project focuses on life in the air raid shelters as school children and as local area residents during WW2.
The restoration of the shelters will provide a piece of living history in the area. Incorporating both audio and visual experiences, local people will have the opportunity to visit the shelters and experience the atmosphere inside first hand.
Volunteers will have the opportunity to be trained in oral history before interviewing and recording those with links to the shelters as well as being able to research local archives to bring relevant findings to the forefront through exhibitions and literature to accompany the shelters experience.
Training will also be available to volunteers and a group of pupils in 1940’s hair, make-up and dress in preparation for a Grand Opening later in the year.
Birkenhead High School Academy, formerly Birkenhead High School is an all through all-girls school established in 1901. The shelters were originally built through kind donations from parents and staff in 1940 that rallied round in order to get them completed so that pupils could return to the school after being evacuated to Shrewsbury.
Commenting on the award, Mrs Mann, Principal said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have received the Heritage Lottery Fund award, and very grateful to the volunteers whose support has helped us achieve it. This money will enable us to open up to the community our very own World War II air raid shelters, and share the experience how it was to live through a war at home in Birkenhead, some 70 years on from the real events.”