‘Morrison’ was literally a double bed sized steel framed
bolted assembly cage with a sheet steel top as illustrated
the time a mattress was placed inside, the about 30” height,
left little room for sitting up in comfort unless you were a
young child. All dimensions and structural details are from my
childhood memory of the Morrison installed in my wartime home so
dimensions in particular should be considered on a ‘looks
about right’ basis. I am uncertain what the bottom material was.
Given the shortage of steel, I feel sure it wasn’t
sheet, more likely mesh of some design.
However I would think if it were the same mesh as the
sides and ends it would have sagged considerably.
Perhaps the angle side and end rails were inverted and
the mattress sat on the floor but that does not fit my ‘memory
would expect the edge of the mattress to sag as one got into or
out of bed and then the edge of the steel frame would be felt.
I have no memory of that happening.
The dangerous lower edge of the top side rail probably
impinged upon many memories – literally!
limited number of two-tier shelters were supplied in response to
concerns about the immorality of single men in a bed shelter
with female housekeepers.
second illustration below demonstrates a typical installation
inside a convenient room. A range of colours was available to suit your choice as long
as it was dark green (with apologies to Henry Ford.) Note the
other wartime precautions.
Two men delivered our Morrison. I think local Councils had
the responsibility of delivering them but I cannot recall if the
men also did the assembly or that was left to the household.
Until he enlisted, Dad drove a lorry for the W.U.D.C.. So, if
they were Council workers, perhaps they assembled ours as a
favour - Mum and I being alone may have had difficulty in doing
so due to the heavy parts.
Over 500,000 Morrison Shelters
were delivered across the country by November 1941, an
additional 100,000 shelters were ordered in late 1943, and 9,000
were distributed to London residents as late as January and
February 1944. Morrison shelters were supplied on a similar
basis to Anderson shelters – in this case free to families
earning less than ₤350 per year and ₤7 to those
Was the Morrisson shelter
effective? 44 representative "heavily damaged" houses
were examined to assess shelter performance. Normally, the 136
occupants would have been killed. Nearly 98% were not. Just over
90% escaped serious injury. 12% were slightly injured.
Direct hits on the shelter by a bomb accounted
for most fatalities although a proportion of fatalities occurred
where the shelter had not been properly sited in the residence.