St Albans’ Batchwood Hall nightclub wants Berlin Wall as BBQ ‘feature’

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 August 2016

Batchwood Hall in St Albans wants to use four sections of the original Berlin Wall in its BBQ area

Batchwood Hall in St Albans wants to use four sections of the original Berlin Wall in its BBQ area

photo supplied

For over 30 years it divided families and hundreds were killed trying to cross over it.

To many the Berlin Wall, built in 1961, symbolised the lack of freedom under communism, the Cold War, and the divide between the communist Soviet bloc and the western democratic, capitalist bloc.

But now, four sections of that very barrier dubbed the ‘Wall of Shame’, which divided Berlin and was torn down by crowds in 1989, are going to be placed ... in a barbecue area at a St Albans nightclub.

Batchwood Hall, in Batchwood Drive, has asked St Albans district council for permission to put up four sections of the original Berlin Wall.

Ironically, OSE Consulting, which submitted a brief report on the walls’ structural suitability, point out the sections, “have been constructed from reinforced concrete with large bases to prevent overturning when general public loading is applied.

“Therefore, based on the wall’s previous use, we confirm that the sections of wall will be more than structurally adequate to support any crowd loading induced.

“As the sections of the wall are to be placed on the external terrace area, again the area will be adequate to support the additional load from the dead weight of the concrete.”

The Herts Advertiser was unable to obtain a comment from the club about why Batchwood wishes to use the pieces, but in its application, the club explains that its external barbecue area “currently has no feature walls. The proposal is to site four sections of the original Berlin Wall; the sections are freestanding.”

The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961, as a physical barrier between East and West Berlin.

Reacting to its construction at the time, President John F. Kennedy said: “It’s not a very nice solution, but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”

However in 1963 he caused mirth when he famously uttered the words “Ich bin ein Berliner [I am a Berliner], when promising American protection for West Berlin - as a ‘Berliner’ also means a jam doughnut.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan, at the Berlin Wall in 1987, demanded: “Mr Gorbachev, open the gate! Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Then, in November 1989, it came down and with its fall, the Cold War was effectively over.

However, Cuban leader Fidel Castro lamented: “We are witnessing sad things in other socialist countries.”

Batchwood Hall’s scheme is currently under public consultation, which ends on August 29.

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