If you were to walk past the fences in the top picture, you probably wouldn't give them a second thought. They very similar to fences found up and down the country, but they're actually have a a fascinating history. Those fences were made from the stretchers used during to carry injured civilians during the London Blitz.
The 'stretcher-fences' can be found across Peckham, Brixton, Deptford, Oval and East London, and campaigners say that they are at risk of being torn down and replaced with something a little but less historical. By raising awareness the Stretcher Railing Society hopes to raise enough money to preserve the fences and install blue plaques signifying their importance.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, conservation manager Rosie Shaw said:
"I had been talking about doing something for a while and then a lot got ripped out at East Dulwich Estate in Dog Kennel Hill a couple of weeks ago. A lot of them badly need some conservation or councils will have to replace them.I think it would be wonderful if more people knew about them and could engage with them. Anyone who we tell gets really excited and it’s a really fascinating social part of our history."
It’s quite hard to think of physical reminders of the Second World War. It’s extraordinary that they are still here."
The fences are recognisable as stretchers thanks to the indents at each end, which were used to keep them off the ground. More than 600,000 of them were built, so that people injured in bomb raids could be carried to safety. After the war was over something had to be done with them, and since existing railings had been used to fuel war production at the start of the conflict the stretchers proved to be a suitable replacement.
The Stretcher Railing Society can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on its new website. On there you can find out more about the history of the railings. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a way to send donations. Not yet anyway. [London Evening Standard]