Many metal fences in south London are made from WWII stretchers used to carry thousands of injured civilians in the Blitz.
But these incredible so-called ‘stretcher fences’ are now at risk of being ripped down and replaced.
The fences can be found on estates in Oval, Brixton, Deptford, Peckham and even in places in east London.
However, local historians say that thousands of Londoners walk right by them without realising they have such a ‘fascinating history’.
Campaigners from the Stretcher Railing Society now hope to raise awareness of the fences, so that they can be conserved and commemorated with plaques.
Rosie Shaw, a conservation manager who is involved with the campaign, told the Evening Standard: ‘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 relatively easy to tell if a fence was once used as a stretcher.
If it’s a stretcher fence, it will have two indents on each end, which were originally used to raise the stretcher slightly off the ground.
More than 600,000 of them were built during WWII for Air Raid Protection officers to carry injured people during bomb raids.
After the war, the authorities were left with a huge surplus of the ARP stretchers.
‘When the war ended there was a large surplus of stretchers and many of London’s housing estates had had their original railings removed to serve the war effort,’ the Stretcher Railing Society website says.
‘The LCC set about replacing them through clever re-use of the ARP stretchers.’