I knew about the removal of railings during the war. My Grandmothers house had a wall which still contained the bases where the railings had been sawn off. But I had not heard about the use of old stretchers post war as a replacement. What an excellent example of recycling.
Famously many of the iron and steel railings in the U.K. were removed and melted down to help the war effort in WW2. Whether a large city park or a private residence, chances are if there was a traditional style railing or gate then it would have been melted down and recycled into things like Spitfires, guns, ships or tanks.
These old iron railings were very expensive to replace and both money and metal were scarce commodities in the 1940s and 50s. However, life moved on and people needed new fencing, particularly in the social housing estates in East and South London that were sprouting from the ashes to house the homeless and refugees.
As it happened, there just happened to be a ready to hand and free replacement, ARP stretchers. These stretchers were originally made so that Air Raid Protection officers could carry injured people during bombing attacks in…
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