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1941 The Railings of Blairgowrie and Rattray



Not just any old iron!

A walk around the streets of Blairgowrie and Rattray will reveal many fine architectural features, but did you know that the town’s wrought iron railings and gates have an interesting story to tell?

It’s a story of how stalling and prevarication can sometimes pay off. 

In 1941 Winston Churchill’s government passed an order compulsorily requisitioning all post-1850 iron gates and railings for the war effort. It was said that they would be smelted down and made into guns and tanks.

A press campaign was launched including posters with slogans such as ‘Get in the Scrap’ and ‘I need your Scrap Metal'.

All around the country, council workmen with sledge hammers and cutting equipment would arrive and load metal railings and gates into lorries. Now, in many towns, only the stubs of metal on low walls are evidence of where beautiful metal railings used to be.

Blairgowrie and Rattray is one of only a few Scottish towns to retain its original railings and gates. Some of the finest examples can be seen on Perth Road, Balmoral Road and in the area around Newton Street.

So how was this town able to keep its railings, while all around the country the call for cast and wrought iron to aid the war effort was being obeyed.

Blairgowrie and Rattray Town Council delayed the decision for the removal work to go ahead and managed to come up with excuses for stalling, with the result that the town succeeded in coming through the war with its railings intact. It is thanks to the Town Council’s delaying tactics that the town can boast some of the finest, ornamental iron railings in Scotland.

What happened to the railings and gates sacrificed by other towns and cities? Were they all smelted down and recycled to make tanks and guns?

Sadly, historians now believe that only a small percentage of the railings were suitable for recycling and that most ended up being dumped at sea.

If you have enjoyed seeing these examples of the town’s railings, why not visit Blairgowrie and Rattray to see more.  If you would like pictures of your house railings on our website, please upload a photo using the Provide Feedback button.

Visit: and click on Railings and click War Effort

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