PICTURE a scenario.

It is 1980, the Soviets have invaded and occupied Afghanistan, revolution in Iran has heightened East-West tensions and the Cold War seems likely to warm up considerably any time now.

As if this were not worrying enough, you live in Swindon, whose immediate surroundings include the RAF base at Lyneham, the US Air Force base at Fairford and a former RAF base at Wroughton whose runways are still suitable for use by Allied aircraft.

Shelters have been built by successive governments to protect vital personnel such as the workers who must co-ordinate the post-war water supply, but the public are advised to lean doors against internal walls of their homes, crawl inside and hope for the best.

It will be another four years before a BBC drama called Threads spells out the reality of nuclear annihilation in all its murderous, radiation-infused, cat-melting fury, but even so you have a pretty good idea that there won’t be much left of your home town after several megatons-worth of warheads rain down in the vicinity.

How, you wonder, might you and your loved ones possibly survive? Fortunately you happen to leaf through a copy of your trusty Adver and learn that all need not be lost.

One of our stories in the autumn of that year began: “Three Swindon men, who feel there is a great possibility of a nuclear war, have formed a company specialising in fallout shelters.

“They say they’ve designed the most comprehensive shelter available - and are putting them on the market at £10,000 each.

“Brothers Peter and Richard Lay, of Okus Road, and former nuclear power worker Vince Farrar have spent five months researching the project, and have pumped thousands of pounds into it.”

The concrete shelters, designed to be buried five feet underground, included an air system a water supply, a WC, space for food and a Geiger counter to test supplies for radiation and monitor the outside world.

Richard Lay said: “We are now putting the shelters on the market. We’re happy with the design. It will provide protection against a blast and fallout, and they’re available at a reasonable price.”

He added that plans for the shelters would be available at a reduced price to customers who believed their DIY skills were up to the task of building and installation.

There is no further mention of the shelters in our files, but we would very much like to hear how popular they proved to be during those strange, alarming times.