The Old Railings, Blackhill

Nearby to the local park, the old road, once called Cemetery Road and re-named to avoid unpleasent memories after the war, has or rather had some magnificent old Victorian railings between the road and the graveyard. The local council, in their rush to rejuvenate the local park and get some money for a heritage project, have totally ruined the appearance of the road by removing the old railings which, had they been cleaned up and re-painted, would look similar to these here
They were replaced with a new set. Like these here.  These manage to match neither set of railings erected last summer during the rejuvenation of the park.


 

New park railings at the gates 
General park fencing
Great care was taken to match the coping stone with that of the old fencing and walls around the area. This can be seen here
The question which comes to mind is "Why spend the money when the old railings look fine when sand-blasted and re-painted?
The answer I was given by Alec Bland from Derwentside Council was based upon someone having put their eye out on similar railings down South. The simple answer of cutting the sharp points of the old railings was obviously too easy.
 
The old railings were set in lead in undercut sockets in the dressed stone capping of a low wall. This prevented easy removal and retained the railings as a firm barrier. Removing these railings was never going to be an easy task, the design was developed to prevent removal. Some of the railings were removed during the war for steel for guns, the resulting replacement railings can be seen here.
The workmen way back managed to remove the railings without damaging the stonework, as you can see here. The lead can be seen around the remains of the old socket.
Sadly, the contractors who are doing the work are unable to surmount the problems overcome over sixty years ago by less well-equipped tradesmen. It can be seen from these three images that there is an easy way of removing the railings, just bend them backwards and forwards until they come out of the lead. Never mind the damage to the stone coping.
One would assume from these pictures that it was now impossible to remove the railings without damaging the coping stone.
Not so, from the fresh rust marks visible in this picture, one may assume that these two posts have been only recently CUT from the fence
The only other conclusion we can come to is that the men are not skilled enough to do the work. Perhaps this shot will show what I mean. Surely ONE hole would be enough? This is not an isolated case, there are many double holes along the coping stone.
Some of the money saved by not replacing this fencing could have been spent on minor repairs to the old coping stone. Unfortunately, the amount of repairs to be done now will leave the surface of the stone liable to flake off under the cold conditions in the winters here.
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