What do you expect to find when you visit your local allotments, people growing, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, herbs, the occasional chicken coop or even a bee hive?
Today we visited Mark Howard in Eccles to have a look at his highly unusual garden shed, unusual in it is some sixty foot long, and three feet deep and entered by going down, several stone steps, a six foot man or woman can easily stand upright and walk about in it.
Mark has had the allotment for over three years and has taken it over from his Father in Law who had previously had it for over 30 years or more.
I think it has been in a previous life an Anderson air raid shelter from World War Two looking at the brick construction, it could easily have seated 40 people in there, and after the war the underground base has been kept, the corrugated iron roof removed and built up with glass panels and surrounds.
Eccles was bombed in the war and close to the allotments and on Peel Green Road a house was hit and the occupants were killed, also Trafford Park is minutes away from here, so I think it's a strong possibility.
Meanwhile Mark, who grows strawberries, potatoes, garlic, onions etc, see's the shed as the perfect bolt hole from life, with a stove and comfy chairs in there, he can relax and watch the world go by.
If anybody has maps of the area from the 1930s we would love to see them and find out how long the allotments have been there and was this a communal air raid shelter, or hear your memories of the allotments.
As a footnote there is a small replica Anderson shelter on the allotments built by one of the allotments holder, and it is a really good replica with a corrugated roof, piled high with soil and grass growing on it, and decorated with military slogans, well done that man.