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HISTORIC REPAIR: Second World War pillbox in Garston restored to its former glory

 Published on: 28th March 2023   |   By: Megan Milstead   |   Category: Uncategorized

An historic Second World War pillbox, located on St Albans Road in Garston, is being restored by Watford Borough Council and chartered architect Kevin O’Callaghan.

Pillboxes are concrete blockhouses that were used in the war by defenders who would shoot out of the loopholes. The hard surface would protect the soldiers against small firearms and grenades and camouflage them against the surrounding.

The pillbox in Garston dates back to 1940 and was constructed during the early stages of the war as part of a network of strong point defences known as the Outer London Stop Line. However, it had fallen into disrepair over time and was at risk of being lost forever.

The restoration project was launched to help restore and repair the building and is expected to be completed this month. The roofing and top section of the brickwork had structural, health and safety issues and required a complete overhaul to preserve it.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said “Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, the Garston pillbox has been restored to its former glory and can now be enjoyed by future generations. The restored pillbox is a testament to the community’s dedication to preserving its history and heritage.”

Councillor Tim Williams, portfolio holder for streets and parks, said: “The Garston pillbox is an important historic structure and it’s great it has been restored to its original condition, so it can be shared and enjoyed by the public.

“As with a lot of things it had fallen into disrepair over the years, with much of the brick work removed, metalwork falling off and invasive weeds causing it to break apart. Fortunately, the foundations and lower courses were still there, and the project focused on putting it back to the way it was in 1940.

“Watford played an important role in both the two World Wars given the town’s proximity to training camps and transport links and as such has many interesting military artefacts and structures, and it’s vital for the town’s heritage that we protect them.”

 

Photo credit: Watford Borough Council 

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