A military explosives unit has deactivated a World War II-era shell found by contractors beneath a school playground in the English city of Bath.

The Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit removed the device late Friday and carried out a controlled explosion at a nearby quarry.

Thousands of people had been evacuated from homes and businesses after the 500-pound (225-kilogram) shell was discovered on a disused playground at the Royal High School Bath on Thursday.

Germany's Luftwaffe bombed Britain heavily during the war, and undetonated explosives are occasionally found during construction work.

Bath, known for its Georgian architecture, was targeted in the "Bath Blitz" over several days in April 1942. Some 400 people were killed and 19,000 buildings damaged.