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WITHIN FOUR WA L L S Plan for the essential things first. Decide upon a scheme and be prepared to carry it out with determination and boldness. Consider everything. Have you taken down the net curtains? Have you painted all the windows? Even the safest room in your home is not safe enough. Beauty, cleanliness, health and safety are the four basic doctrines that protect our homes. In the atomic age a house that’s neglected is a house that may be doomed. It is your choice. The reward may be survival.


Nuclear explosions are caused by weapons such as H-bombs or atom bombs. They are like ordinary explosions only many times more powerful. They cause great heat and blast. They also make a cloud of deadly dust, which falls messily to the ground. This is called fall-out.

The heat and blast are so severe that they can destroy houses up to five miles from the explosion. But whilst Heat and Blast effects of even the largest bombs would have a definitive limit, any area could be threatened by fall-out.

But how will you know if there is fall-out? You can’t see, hear, smell, or taste fall-out! As a counter to fall-out’s invisible nature, place a white dinner plate outdoors during the early stages of possible accumulation.

The amount of dust on the plate will give some form of measurement. The particles on the plate will act like mini X-Ray machines, shooting radiation off in every direction. If you are exposed to too many of them, you will be hurt! You should avoid bringing dust into the house and onto the carpets. Keep separate shoes or boots for outdoors if you can and always remember to wipe them.

Today we stand on the threshold of a new age; we are in all probability being projected into a new world, but whatever happens we must of necessity surround ourselves with things for our comfort. Looking at the picture as it is today one has a feeling of nervousness about living accommodation all together but if you leave, your local authority may need to take your empty house for others to use. So stay at home.

Fortunately there are means of protecting ourselves. Means so effective that civil defense officials believe everyone can survive fall-out. The best defence against nuclear radiation is a fall-out shelter. Your safety depends on putting sufficient mass between yourself and the fall-out. In a pinch any heavy material will do. But planning now for the future will save you a great deal of time. Any structure that deserves the name of shelter must remain habitable during the necessary period of occupation. Primarily your walls, floor and ceiling are the background of your scheme and must be more or less planned in conjunction with each other, although they need not be thought of as a whole. Admittedly, the floor is only part of the background, but it is the part or foundation on which you build, and the success or failure of a scheme often depends on it. You will find also that no degree of comfort can be obtained until the carpet is laid, in other words, until the floor is furnished.

Because of the threat of radiation you and your family may need to live in this room for fourteen days after an attack, almost without leaving it at all. So you must make it as safe as you can. Choose the place furthest from the outside walls and from the roof, or which has the smallest amount of outside wall. If possible, entirely cover the floor with carpet. It helps to draw the room together and create a more restful appearance. The further you can get, within your home the safer you will be. You may feel totally unequal to the task but a lack of fire-safe housekeeping will doom a home to destruction. Keep the space clean and tidy. There should be no loose papers or stray cushions. Clear out old newspapers and magazines. These jobs can be allocated to the elderly and children. Everyone can help!

A cold unhomely house is unsuitable. We need something more than utility, and that something is a pervading atmosphere of comfort. Remove net curtains or thin materials from windows – but leave heavy curtains and blinds as these can be drawn before an attack as protection against flying glass. Coat windows inside with diluted emulsion paint of a light colour so that they will reflect away much of the heat flash, even if the blast, which will follow, is to shatter them. If there is structural damage from the attack you may have some time before a fall-out warning to do minor jobs.

5 Miles


4 Miles


3 Miles


2 Miles


1 Mile

Bright White

Lighting is very important. You should know how to fix a simple electrical system. You will also want a flashlight and an electric lantern. Small graceful chandeliers cost little or no more than many of the stark modern light fittings, and they do lend charm. During the period of shelter occupancy it is anticipated that most people will be unhappy but normal. There may, however, be people who will be uncertain and disturbed and smart use of light and colour are two ways to counter this. It is advisable to experiment with your colours in artificial light as well as daylight. An interior scheme of decoration prepared in daylight may be altogether disappointing when seen in artificial light. The psychology of colour is very important; colour affects different people in various ways. It is useless and stupid to try and be happy in an all white room if your passion is for red. Certain colours, induce sleep, other colours excite the imagination and some provide a feeling of wellbeing and calm. Try to plan your scheme around what is right for you and those who will share this space. Everyone must be prepared to make the best of life under conditions which are remote from the normal living pattern.


Fall-out ROOM ESSENTIALS Paper Plates. Cups. Napkins. Coasters. Bedding. Sleeping. Bags. Warm Clothing. Toilet Articles. Bucket. Plastic Bags. Soap. First Aid Kit. Note Book. Pencils. Brushes. Shovels. Rubber Gloves. Dust Pan and Brush. Toys and Magazines. Clock. Calander. Strong Disinfectant. Drinking Water. Tinned Food. Fruit Juices. Nail Brush.

You must ensure your shelter is equipped with enough food and water for your family for at least 14 days. You will want one or two pans, disposable tableware. Don’t forget a measuring cup, a can opener and matches. A battery-powered radio is essential to provide communication with the outside word. A first aid kit will be very important. You will also want a calendar, a clock, candles, a screwdriver and batteries. Far too much time is wasted by indecision. Start collecting these things now because when the warning comes, it could be too late! Many people go shopping without the least idea of what they want. In other words, they have no plan, nothing upon which to work. So make a plan, and stick to it.

Once the danger has passed it will be time to rebuild. Things will not be the same. But if you are prepared for the challenge you will find thrifty ways of making the most out of what you have left.

WITHIN FOUR WALLS Keep this booklet handy Books:

Within Four Walls: A book about interior decoration colour schemes and furnishing the home, 1948 Domestic Nuclear Shelters: Technical Guidance, 1981 Nuclear Shelters: A guide to Design, 1983 Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers, 2000 Hiroshima Ground Zero 1945, 2011


Atomic Alert, 1951 Duck and Cover, 1951 The House in the Middle, 1954 Lets Face It, 1954 About Fallout, 1955 A Day Called X, 1957 Family Fallout Shelters, 1960 Protect and Survive, 1976 The Day After, 1983 Threads, 1984 Where the Wind Blows, 1986


Within Four Walls  

Within Four Walls accompanys a series of photographs that deal with domestic concernes in the nuclear cold war period. Containing both real...

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