Take cover

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Transport for London plans to develop a park-side rotunda and eight deep level shelters as exhibition halls and a café.

The building, near Clapham South station, sits above historic Grade II listed World War Two shelters.

Under the rotunda lie eight deep- level air-raid shelters built between 1940 and 1942. The vast tunnels make up one of seven deep level networks constructed along the Northern line.

When the bombing of London intensified with the use of V-1 and V-2 bombs in 1944, the shelters housed up to 8,000 Londoners during air-raids. After the war, the complex was used as a military and civilian hostel.

Then in 1948, 492 migrants from Jamaica, who arrived on the HMT Empire Windrush, were temporarily housed in the shelter.

The Festival of Britain in 1951 saw large numbers of tourists and school children arriving in London and the shelter was once again used to house them and others requiring cheap accommodation.

Says Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at Transport for London, ‘Clapham South’s deep-level shelters have played an important role in shaping the London that we know today.

‘The planning approval that we have received from Lambeth Council means that this structure can once again be brought back to life.’

It is the only deep-level shelter that retains original signage and many of the original bunk beds.