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24th March 2017


Ainscough rescues WWII relic in Cumbria

Ainscough’s Lancaster Depot has come to the rescue of a World War Two relic in the Cumbrian town of Barrow in Furness.

According to reports in the North West Evening Mail, the concrete pillbox (a defensive installation) was found on land off Ramsden Dock Road where Cumbria County Council is carrying out clearance works for the Barrow Waterfront project.

The article went on to explain that although the construction company was aware the structure was buried underground, they were amazed to discover it was completely intact.

After being approached by residents on Barrow Island, Cumbria County Council decided to take steps to carefully remove and preserve the pillbox.

Project lead, David Haughian said: “The removal of the pillbox had been a delicate procedure. We were aware there was going to be a pillbox on the site but because of the vegetation and ecology, it was difficult to determine its condition until we dug it out.

“We cleared the site and it became evident that the whole structure was there intact. A number of local people had said they would like to see it preserved and utilised.”

Ainscough’s Lancaster depot manager, Paul Haigh said: “Lifting the pillbox was an interesting challenge as they are a rather unusual size and shape. Of course we delivered the lift without any problems and we were pleased to be involved in something connected to a part of the town and country’s past.”

Having checked with conservation authorities, the pillbox was not one which had been listed by English Heritage, and so an operation was launched to lift and move the structure.

Mr Haughian said: “Contractors excavated round the structure and then undermined it in order to get the lifting gear underneath. It was then lifted onto a crane and moved to a landscaped area of the waterfront.”

About 28,000 pillboxes and other hardened field fortifications were constructed in England in 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations. Around 6,500 of these structures still survive.

Although a future location for the relic has not yet been selected, it is hoped it will be positioned within the waterfront site, possibly as an artistic feature.

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