Market Lavington Museum

Refuge from nuclear fallout

Our recent blog post Surviving a nuclear attack looked at one of the WVS Civil Defence Corps leaflets produced during a time of anxiety during the 1950s and 1960s. We will now look at another leaflet from the same donation to Market Lavington Museum. Once training had been given, the leaflets could be kept in this envelope for future reference, in case the nuclear threat worsened.

It was envisaged that, if the worst came to pass, the likelihood of survival would be enhanced if people retreated to a refuge room and stayed there for two weeks. This would be a room as far away from external walls as possible and tinned food, bottled water and other provisions would have been needed there. One page lists the items that might be needed for a medical kit.

If the threat was becoming imminent, it was suggested that windows should be whitewashed and materials and surfaces should be flameproofed with borax and boric acid, or waterglass and kaolin on painted woodwork.

The inside of the leaflet lists all the things that would be needed during this lockdown situation, including tinned foods, water for drinking and washing, buckets for makeshift toilets, camp beds and an oil stove.

Fortunately, none of this was needed and the Civil Defence Corps was wound up in 1968.