- Contributed by
- Dunstable Town Centre
- People in story:
- A W Morgan
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 20 April 2005
This story was submitted to the People's War site by the Dunstable At War Team on behalf of the author and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.
To help the war effort, as much metal was collected quite early on in the war. Aluminium was needed for aircraft manufacture and people were asked to donate any aluminium saucepans etc that they had in their possession. The Government also made some sort of order that requisitioned iron railings and gates. The material they wanted was wrought iron but the workmen who came round with oxy-acetylene cutters took every iron gate and railing in sight. These included the Victorian cast iron gates and railings from the front of the Edward Street Congregational Church in Dunstable, as well as those that surrounded the Priory Church graveyard in Church Street. Unfortunately, there seemed to be insufficient capacity to deal with cast iron and consequently, a pile of cast iron gates and railings could be seen in Carter’s Boscombe Road scrap yard until well after the war.
There are a number of locations around the older part of Dunstable where it is still possible to see squares or circles of lead set in the tops of wall or gateways, they have a short stump of the original railing or gate remaining. One strange thing is that these stumps do not appear to have rusted away in the 60+ years since the cutting torch was used.
Empty tin cans, cardboard and old newspapers were saved and regularly collected in salvage drives. Not everybody agreed with salvage and my mother told me how two maiden ladies serving on the Congregational Church “Tea Committee”, said they would not allow the tin cans used at the church to be saved ,as they would then be used to help the war effort; they were very much against the war. My mother said that she and others pointed out to these ladies that men were giving their lives in order to bring food to this country. If they objected to the war so much then it would be best if they did not partake of any food brought from overseas. There were no further suggestions that the empty tins should not be salvaged!
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