On 4 September 1939, the day after the declaration of war, in his nightly CBS broadcast to the USA, the London-based American journalist Ed Murrow reflected on how the city was changing as it prepared itself for battle. The blitz wouldn’t arrive for another year, but London – with its barrage balloons, its evacuated children, its blacked-out streets (the darkness reminded Murrow of some pre-modern Dickensian scene, like something out of Pickwick) – was already transformed. One of the most striking changes was the air-raid shelter. Besides protecting Londoners from bombs, it was going to protect them from a more home-grown enemy: the antiquated British class system. All those trappings of wealth, the ‘fine car, good clothes, and perhaps an unearned income’ counted for nothing in a public shelter, Murrow argued. A rich man may be cocooned in his affluence ‘but if he’s caught in Piccadilly Circus when a siren sounds he may have a waitress stepping on his heels, and see before him the broad back of a labourer as he goes underground’. 1 In Murrow’s eyes, there was literally no room for social divisiveness in the shared shelter space. In cramped, underground dimness, class was going to be squeezed out of the British for good.