Iron railings had a torrid time in Britain in the twentieth century, being ripped out systematically during the War - ostensibly to be melted down for armaments, although in reality many were uselessly stockpiled. The recovery was long and hard, reinstatement being no sort of priority in the post-war austerity years; the crude wooden stakes and wire mesh that replaced them persisted in many places until very recently and still aren't altogether gone, a good example of how cheap stopgap solutions end up becoming more or less permanent. But from 1990 onwards numerous squares in London have had their railings put back, among them Fitzroy Square where the Georgian Group is based. All excellent stuff, but as the first line of defence railings remain vulnerable to all sorts of threats, including neglect (which brings on decay and eventual collapse) and accidental damage. Our pictures show railings within 50 yards of Fitzroy Square that have suffered grievous damage over past eighteen months, including two that were uprooted by joyriders who then absconded. No amount of protective legislation can guard against this sort of bizarre and random occurrence, but at least the legislation does ensure that the railings are put back where they were, although not necessarily as they were; vigilance is needed to make sure that cast iron railings aren't replaced by inferior substitutes made from laser-cut mild steel.