I was dashing along towards the train station and suddenly stopped in my tracks. It’s funny how you can pass by something all the time and never see it, but today, these old iron railings, what remains of them anyway, caught my attention.
Was this broken iron railing just a case of neglect or ruined for a higher purpose? Iron fences, gates, and metal of any sort was stripped from London’s streets, the fine homes and the not so fine, all gave for the war effort. The iron plume heads of these remaining rails are thick and heavy, it gave me pause for thought- had they started to strip the iron and for some reason the job suddenly stopped. Did it happen whilst the end of war was broadcast over the wireless, or had time and lack of care just let this magnificent iron fence deteriorate, leaving just the plumes and the flower heads boldy standing on top of the brick wall?
There is an interesting article on the website of The London Parks and Gardens Trust, which asks the unanswered question, just what did happen to all the iron collected? It was generally assumed the iron was melted down and used in the war effort, but this article offers the suggestion that the iron itself was not usable and the collection of the iron continued as a propaganda effort to keep the morale up. There is nothing worse than feeling you can do nothing to help, or contribute when so much is at stake, so if you could gather whatever metal you could, you went at it, it’s just what one did. It’s just one of those questions whose answers will be lost in time for now.