Bath racecourse opened its door to around 100 evacuees after a 500lb World War II bomb was discovered at a former school nearby.

Contractors at the former Royal High School in Lansdown Road called police after unearthing the unexploded shell on Thursday (12 May).

A bomb disposal team attended and a 300-metre exclusion zone was set up around the 1.42m x 0.4m bomb.

Homes in the surrounding area were evacuated and residents were taken to Bath racecourse —where the Racing Post reported around 100 people spent the night — as well as other venues in the town.

Roads and schools were also closed.

The following morning, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team used 250 tonnes of sand to build a barrier around the device.

Once it had been deactivated, the bomb was removed to be “disposed of in a controlled manner”.

Residents were allowed back into their homes by 8pm on Friday (13 May).

“Pleased that #bathbomb evacuees have been able to return to their homes. Great community spirit over the last few days. #racingtogether,” tweeted the racecourse.

Chief superintendent Ian Smith, area commander for Bath, said: “First and foremost, I would like to thank each and every resident who has been affected by this incident and numerous businesses in the local area.


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“Thank you for your patience, co-operation and support throughout the last 24 hours.

“We have worked as quickly and diligently as possible to limit the disruption caused but, as you can expect with an incident of this nature, public safety has to be our primary concern.”

Evacuees spent the night in the executive suite of Bath racecourse, and were reportedly served scrambled eggs for breakfast the next day.

The racecourse’s site manager also tweeted: “Fantastic response tonight by @BathRacecourse. It’s great to be part of a team who pull together to assist with a major emergency #bathbomb”