A HOMEOWNER is trying to find out more after discovering the building she thought had been built as a coal shed could actually be a domestic nuclear shelter.

Carole Seheult, from High Shincliffe, near Durham, has been digging into the history of her home after she tried to get the structure demolished – and discovered a brick room completely surrounded with a layer of steel-reinforced concrete.

When builders arrived to knock it down to make way for a kitchen extension, they were faced with breaking through two four-inch layers of concrete when they tried to removed the roof.

Mrs Seheult said: "We thought it would be down in two days but we've discovered more and more.

The Northern Echo:

"Our guess is that it was built as a domestic nuclear shelter.

"I don't know whether many people went around doing that."

Part of the house dates from 1837, when it operated as a pub, while an extension to the back of the building was added in 1947, shortly after the end of the Second World War, when the room, which had been used as a pantry, was probably added.

At the time, the house was occupied by GE Stead, who was the county architect.

Mrs Seheult, who has lived at the property since 1980, said: “There are some examples of fall out shelters people had built for their own purposes.

The Northern Echo:

"I don't know if he was a particularly anxious person or he knew something other people didn't.

"I'm interested in finding out whether it was a fashion. Does anyone else in Durham have one? Can anyone shed light on it?"