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Thread: Sefton Park railings

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    Member johno's Avatar
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    Default Sefton Park railings

    Has anyone noticed that as you walk around the perimeter of sefton park the sandstone blocks that enclose the park from the Aighburth road entrance
    to ullett road have square holes on the top of the blocks. Does anyone know if at one time these held railings.Rumour has that they were taken down for the metal for the war effort at the start of the war. Anyone any ideas

    Johno

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    PhilipG
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    Quote Originally Posted by johno View Post
    Has anyone noticed that as you walk around the perimeter of sefton park the sandstone blocks that enclose the park from the Aighburth road entrance
    to ullett road have square holes on the top of the blocks. Does anyone know if at one time these held railings.Rumour has that they were taken down for the metal for the war effort at the start of the war. Anyone any ideas

    Johno

    Yes, they were taken for the war effort.
    In fact, most of the railings from private houses were taken as well, with very few exceptions.
    Try walking round any old street and try to spot original railings.
    You won't see many!

    And, as it turned out, most of the metal collected that way was pretty useless for building planes.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Exclamation sefton park railings

    re' the long gone railings! this was lord beaverbrooks idea,during ww2,and most railings(but strangely, not all?!)were cut down.somebody then realised that cast iron couldn't be re-used,and after the war ended,it was dumped in the north sea!!! so,you could say it was one of the worst cases of official vandalism, from which many places never recovered! oddly though,i've noticed they've recently replaced the railings around west derby cemetery,so what an idea, to do the same with sefton park!:

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    Member johno's Avatar
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    Default Sefton park railings

    There going to try and revamp Sefton park back to it's original design so maybe the raiings might reappear.

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    Newbie jimboy's Avatar
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    Default sefton park railings

    yes a lot of railings where used for scrap in the war.

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    Creator & Administrator Kev's Avatar
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    Thanks for the interesting info, I didn't know the reason for the railings being taken down...
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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Thanks for the interesting info, I didn't know the reason for the railings being taken down...
    I knew since I was a kid that the railings were taken for use as scrap during the War, but then I was born right after the Second World War in 1948. Quite possibly it was my Grandad, who was in the Home Guard during the war, who told me that in one of our bus journeys into town on the 80 bus from Booker Avenue!

    The question is... was the scrap iron not used for anything as has been stated in this thread? It couldn't be used for aircraft but couldn't it have been used to make steel battleships or guns?

    Lord Beaverbrook also issued a call for aluminium which apparently was not used:

    The Great Aluminium Scare began on 10 July 1940 and the ladies of Dartford responded magnificently. Lord Beaverbrook issued a manifesto through the papers "We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes, Blenheims and Wellingtons". Locals were encouraged to hand over all their aluminium utensils for use in the manufacture of aircraft. Mountains of pots and pans, shoe trees and bathroom fittings were handed over for recycling. Ironically, most of this aluminium was never used.

    Dartford children joined enthusiastically in the national campaign for salvage. Salvage shops were opened where people might leave or report their scrap metal. From 1940 onwards, iron railings were removed from parks and gardens.


    From Dartford at War 1939-1945

    What's the proof that the scrap iron from the railings was dumped in the North Sea, or was it the aluminium that was dumped in the sea?

    Chris
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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Red face dumped railings!!!!

    the info' on the fate of the scrapped railings,etc,was taken from a book i got from central library a couple of years ago. it was called"the forties", and was part of a series of books on the decades of the 20th century! the article wasn't very long,and didn't state that all scrap, had been disposed of,but did make the point that lord beaverbrook's attitude had been uneccesarily enthusiastic!
    i wondered why some houses,businesses,ironwork seemed to have escaped the fate of most, and have the image of irate old girls, chasing away council workers screaming "dont you *!?!* dare touch my railings",but the answer is probably something more mundane!

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hi Steve

    The information you reported might be exactly correct. I would though like to see it verified rather than to think we might be promulgating another myth and that instead much or most of the scrap was actually used for the war effort. I am just trying to get to the facts of the matter, not doubting your word that you read a statement to that effect.

    Chris
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    PhilipG
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    It was certainly a fact that most of the metal collected was entirely unsuitable for the War effort, which was (I think) mainly concerned with building planes, and manufacturing bombs.
    Personally, I don't know what they did with the unused metal, but it seem highly logical that it was dumped at sea, rather than admit that a war-time government got it wrong.
    The railings certainly weren't returned to their original owners, and I agree that it was an act of vandalism that the streets of the country must still regret.

    As I said, there are not many original railings left today, because most people believed they were helping their country, but I did notice that the Belvedere School has some of its original railings.

    It looks like churches were exempt, as St Luke's and Great George Street Congregational (to name but two) retained their railings.
    Last edited by PhilipG; 03-06-2007 at 12:17 AM.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Hi Philip

    Another aspect of this is that possibly the owners of the railings might have been able to claim compensation after the war. I think you may know that one of my interests is the War of 1812 fought 1812-1815 between Britain and United States. I have just written an article about ships that were sunk in Baltimore harbor to stop the British getting past Fort McHenry in September 1814. The owners of those ships were able to claim compensation for their losses in terms of damage done to the vessels while they were submerged. Since around eighteen of the ships were in the harbor the whole of the winter of 1814-1815 you can imagine that the damage sustained was substantial. Most of the ships were raised and were usable although at least one of them was shipwrecked in a subsequent voyage, which might be attributable to damage incurred during the submersion despite repair after she was raised.

    The matter of compensating the owners of the twenty-four ships damaged in the damaged by submersion in the harbor was brought before the U.S. Congress, and although it took appeals year after year to get the compensation, eventually, twenty years later, all of the owners received some reimbursement.

    I do realise that, after the Second World War, Britain was in financial straits and still on rationing and that also the taking of the railings etc could have been viewed as a national need for the government to do and a patriotic duty for the citizens to give up the railings. However, I wonder whether even in Britain after 1945 some landowners etc did receive compensation for damage the armed forces did in requisitioning their lands or buildings, so why not the private owners and civic bodies who owned railings or other confiscated iron entities as well?

    All my best

    Chris
    Christopher T. George
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    PhilipG
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    Chris.

    I don't know if compensation was offered, but I suspect not.
    After all "it's the war" was probably quoted, and people didn't think in terms of compo in those days (unlike today).

    Even if compensation was given, the money didn't go on replacement railings, because the evidence of where they were on the streets is still all too apparent.

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    Senior Member AK1's Avatar
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    Some of the roads in Kenny off Prescot Road as you get near the Royal have still got their original railings. Quite a few parks such as knotty Ash have still got theirs but are in a bad state. They only need a lick of paint to bring them back to their former glory.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Default more railings

    hi all,
    one place i would really like to see the railings replaced would be st.john's gardens, which i'd have thought would have had some sort of priority,considering it's position,and it's proximity to st. george's hall! Theres a small section still there, around the public toilets,which are closed!?!

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    Newbie Gort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisGeorge View Post
    Hi Steve

    The information you reported might be exactly correct. I would though like to see it verified rather than to think we might be promulgating another myth and that instead much or most of the scrap was actually used for the war effort. I am just trying to get to the facts of the matter, not doubting your word that you read a statement to that effect.

    Chris

    I am not so sure whether or not it was compulsory to 'donate' your railings to the war effort. I thought those that remained were owned by residents who weren't too worried at the reaction of their neighbours when they didn't.

    If I am wrong, and exemption applied, it certainly didn't cover historical or important locations because down here in the SW I have seen evidence of railings having been removed in close proximity of some fine buildings.

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