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wrought iron railings

Have you ever wondered where the phrase any old iron, any old iron came from?

During the war, anything that was made of iron, including wrought iron railings was collected up and smelted down to support the war effort.

An order passed by the government in 1941, authorized the compulsorily requisitioning all post-1850 iron gates and railings. This led to the widespread collection of anything iron and the phrase often shouted by collectors was “Any old iron, any old iron.”


There are many reports of council workmen arriving at public parks and gardens with cutting equipment to remove all the iron railings and other metal railings. They sometimes spared the more ornate gate or monument of special historic interest, but in the main, they left a wake of iron stubs sticking up from concrete walls.

These wrought iron railings were then loaded onto council lorries for recycling into ammunition and the parks were left over the years without railings or gates. A sad fact is that it is now believed that the majority of iron was actually dumped at sea because it was found that the iron was very brittle and difficult to forge into shapes.

This loss of wrought iron railings has often been the first objective of many restoration project on public parks and gardens. Modern day railings are now nearly always replaced with steel railings as iron is really difficult to forge into decorative shapes and arches.

Alpha Rail has been involved in a number of restoration projects to replace park railings and railings or gates around churches and monuments. We were involved in the £5.2m refurbishment of the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham where we were commissioned to replace metal railings and gates at various locations around the site.

For specialist advice on your project please contact Alpha Rail Limited