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The War Rubble of Crosby Beach

3 min read

Crosby Beach, about five miles North of Liverpool, is basically a stark reminder of World War II.
What remains of the city before the conflict that destroyed the world in the middle of the 20th century is literally strewn across these two miles of coastline: from pebble-sized remnants of bricks eroded by the adjacent Irish Sea, to graves, or large keystones of major civic buildings.

Historically, Liverpool was one of the most heavily hit British cities by the German Luftwaffe, the Nazi air force.
It was the second most bombed city after London due to its docks, that were the main recipient of foodstuffs and materials from the North Atlantic (in paricular The United States). It is estimated that the Docks handled around 90% of all imported goods for the war effort, and Hitler knew that it was an important non military target as Germany tried to starve the nation into submission.
Here the blitz came in waves, with barrages beginning in 1940 and continuing throughout the war.
In total, the Liverpool Blitz killed nearly 4,000 people, and rendered over 70,000 homeless.
The German bombing was indiscriminate, and no structure was spared from the aerial assault including banks, churches and family homes.
As a result, in the rush to clear the streets and make the city livable, some of the rubble was shipped abroad, and much was carted out of town, to Crosby Beach, just to get it out of the way.
And there it was unceremoniously dumped.
While some report that the rubble was set there as a barrier to erosion, and others say the rubble may have been placed there to impede a potential German invasion by foot.
However, there is no conclusive evidence for either claim.

Either way, following World War II, Liverpool, like many British cities, found itself strapped for cash, and many areas hit by the blitz were merely filled in, turned into parking lots, or languished as piles of pulverized stone and splintered woodwork for decades.
As there was hardly money to get the city back on its feet, very little mind was paid to cleaning up the beach that had become spottered with houses and civic structures deemed impossible to rebuild.
And thus, over the decades, the Irish Sea lapped away at the rubble, softening the marble finishes of decorative pre-war design, and turning many of the proper, rectangular bricks into oblong red stones.
Despite some of the rubble is broken and transformed beyond recognition, some pieces are still there, including a gravestone, beautifully carved stones that would have once decorated some of Liverpool’s marvellous buildings, the shattered sign of a storefront, and even an old jumper, all caught in the debris.
The rubble stretches from the banks of Crosby Beach up to the village of Hightown, even if others crops up further north at Formby Point, part of the British National Trust, and where British soldiers prepared for the D-Day invasions.

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