Hale Air Raid Siren - Atlas Obscura

Hale Air Raid Siren

A rare World War II-era siren still survives in the southern suburbs of Manchester. 


In 1938, the United Kingdom’s government was anticipating the outbreak of hostilities with Germany and decided to begin preparing the general population for war. One of those preparatory steps was creating an air raid warning system across the United Kingdom that included a series of electrical sirens either mounted on public buildings or freestanding poles.

This system was in use throughout World War II. Afterward, with the start of the Cold War, the sirens were kept in place to provide warnings in case of a nuclear attack. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, the sirens were seen as unnecessary and the network was largely dismantled.

Air raid sirens found in the U.K. today are extremely rare. One of the last remaining sirens stands in a residential area near the train tracks in the suburban area of Hale. The pole-mounted siren has been in place since its construction in 1938 and even retains much of its original electrical gear.

Local historian George Cogswell, who had been evacuated from London during World War II as a child, recognized the historical significance of the air raid siren and campaigned to protect it. In 2022, the Hale Air Raid Siren was given Grade II listed status by Historic England. This surviving artifact of World War II will continue to stand sentry in suburban Hale for future generations to see.

Know Before You Go

The air raid siren is located in one corner of a small car park (parking lot) on Cecil Road in Hale, which is in Greater Manchester’s southwestern suburbs. The car park is publicly accessible at all times of day.

People driving to the site could park in the car park on Cecil Road, on the street, or in the car parks of one of the nearby businesses. The site is also near Hale’s train station, and buses regularly travel to the area from nearby Altrincham as well as other locations within Greater Manchester.

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