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British air raid siren

Article about: This thing is a beast at 220 pounds. I purchased this air raid siren several months ago and can't wait to fire it up! But before I do, has anybody here in the US restored one of these? I kno

  1. #1

    Default British air raid siren

    This thing is a beast at 220 pounds. I purchased this air raid siren several months ago and can't wait to fire it up! But before I do, has anybody here in the US restored one of these? I know the electrical requirements are quite different so I do not want to burn the motor up. I see the voltage and hertz are European specs versus US as can be seen from the data tag.

    If anybody has knowledge on how to properly fire this thing up, please let me know. As you can see on the data tag, the siren was manufactured in 1936. Unfortunately I do not know which town it came from but just to sit back and think this siren was used during WWII to warn people of air raids is neat.


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  3. #2


    Nice piece of kit.
    Manufacturer was based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
    Cant help with the electrical requirements between here in the UK and the US.
    A lot of these were retained on Fire Stations in the UK long after the war.
    I clearly remember my local station having one, and it being used!!

    Regards etc

    Ian D

    AKA: Jimpy

  4. #3


    I've heard these are quite rare to find, even in the UK so I jumped at the chance to own one when it became available. I paid almost as much for shipping as I did on the siren itself. But I've always thought these were neat and the sound they emit will send chills down your spine. However, unless I'm able to get power to it, about all I can do is restore it and sit back and admire my new paper weight.

  5. #4


    I don't know too much about Electricity. But I do know that "3 phase" is not the normal domestic supply. My Dad's neighbour had some industrial woodworking tools which he wanted to use at home in his garage and he had to have the electric company come in and modify his supply in order to run them. I am speaking from a UK standpoint here, but I suspect the US will be the same. The voltage is higher than domestic rates too.

    Good item. One used to sit on a school in Nottingham.

    Cheers, Ade.
    Had good advice? Saved money? Why not become a Gold Club Member, just hit the green "Join WRF Club" tab at the top of the page and help support the forum!

  6. #5
    mpw is offline


    Ade is right. In the uk the domestic mains is 230v at 50 Hz. 3 phase is used where the load would exceed the single domestic supply. ie a workshop or large business etc. 3 phase is measured between any two phases and therefore is 440v. In the US domestic supply is 120v at 60 Hz. The reason 3 phase is being used on the siren is because of the power required to start the motor spinning. So at US voltages I'm not sure you would get much joy from trying to run it. Perhaps if you take it to a electric motor expert they could help you with converting the motor to US spec.


  7. #6


    that is a monster..and I would run like it was setting off fire works

    If its anything like those air raid sirens on tops of sure you will have a nice Blast of sound
    It is not the size of a Collection in History that matters......Its the size of your Passion for it!! - Larry C

    One never knows what tree roots push to the surface of what laid buried before the tree was planted - Larry C

    “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” - Winston Churchill

  8. #7


    you trying to frighten the nieghbours. lol.

  9. #8


    As said it runs off a 3 phase Brook's motor. I have had several of these in varying sizes and power output running guillotines when I had my steel stockholding business and they were incredibly well built and reliable running everyday for up to 8 hours + . The 'newest' one was made in 1948 but the others were all older, most pre war, one being on a 6ft Morgan guillotine that actually had service paperwork with it when I bought it that showed it spent the wartime years at Morris Motors / Vickers Armstrong Ltd at Castle Bromwich that produced Spitfires and Lancaster's during the war.

    The only real maintenance they required was a greasing of the drive shaft and bearings and an occasional blow through with the airline to get rid of dust. Only once in over 26 years did I have a motor require an expensive rewind and armature replacement, and that was actually an English-Electric motor. The things are practically bomb proof, and as mentioned by others, one sat on top of a platform of 2 telegraph poles in our village when I was a kid to give everyone the bad news that they only had 3 minutes left to live, so go and hide from the big bucket of sunshine that was en route....Bloody Russians!!

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  10. #9


    These are truly awesome pieces of "sound gear". As others have said above these are of industrial standard and the UK electrical system is different but the US has big industrial electrics too so I reckon if you consult an industrial electrician you will have no problems getting it going, just make sure you have ear defence! Seriously, these were meant to be heard miles away and to be within feet when you spark it up wil break just about every health and safety rule ever written!

    Again, as others have said these were used long after the war and all through the cold war period until the last 20 or so years when local authorities decommissioned them as air raid was deemed to be no longer a threat. Prominent buildings all over the country had them and as a kid in the late 60's / early 70's I recall the one on the local council building being regularly tested much to the delight of local kids! I would love to hear one again! Well done and get it going but mind you don't break any laws!!!



  11. #10


    Well, at least don't do this

    Πόλεμος πάντων μεν πατήρ εστί, πάντων δε βασιλεύς.

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