Essex County Council's Swastikas should be seen in "architectural context"

Swastikas above a door on Essex County Hall

Swastikas appear on a Grade II listed building

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Epping Forest

Potentially offensive swastikas above an entrance into Essex County Council's main office have to be seen in their “architectural context” the council has said.

The comments follow a freedom of information request submitted to Essex County Council asking why Essex County Hall, in Chelmsford, was commissioned with swastikas on it.

The request was made by a member of the public about the symbols which can be seen above a main door of the offices.

The plans for the building were finalised in October 1926, six years after the Nazi party was founded, and the building completed in 1939, the year the Second World War broke out.

Although now widely associated with the Nazis the swastika is also a religious symbol found in Buddism and Hinduism and appears on many buildings such as india House in Aldwych, London.

An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Given similar designs are featured on other public buildings of similar age it is important the symbol is seen in its architectural context.

“That part of County Hall has Grade II listed status and any changes could be extremely costly to the public purse and would have to be approved by English Heritage.”

In the request the unnamed applicant said: “It’s potentially offensive and upsetting to those that lost loved ones in the war or those that fought for their country.”

Comments (2)

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9:13am Fri 28 Feb 14

Helen, Walthamstow says...

You have to ask yourself why anyone would want to raise this issue 70 years after the Second World War ended.

You'll find swastikas in buildings all over Britain, indeed all over the world. The Nazis don't have ownership of it - in fact we shouldn't allow them to retain ownership of an sign that has been widely used since ancient times in its various forms..

If you take this request to its logical conclusion, you could find yourself defacing many buildings and destroying goods - like early copies of the work of Rudyard Kipling, who used the symbol on the covers of his books because of its association with India. And when you've finished that, you could start looking for other signs and symbols that might now give offence.

It all sounds very much to me like the actions of the Nazis who thought it was a good idea to destroy books and art that didn't comply with their judgement of acceptability.
You have to ask yourself why anyone would want to raise this issue 70 years after the Second World War ended. You'll find swastikas in buildings all over Britain, indeed all over the world. The Nazis don't have ownership of it - in fact we shouldn't allow them to retain ownership of an sign that has been widely used since ancient times in its various forms.. If you take this request to its logical conclusion, you could find yourself defacing many buildings and destroying goods - like early copies of the work of Rudyard Kipling, who used the symbol on the covers of his books because of its association with India. And when you've finished that, you could start looking for other signs and symbols that might now give offence. It all sounds very much to me like the actions of the Nazis who thought it was a good idea to destroy books and art that didn't comply with their judgement of acceptability. Helen, Walthamstow
  • Score: 16

12:22pm Fri 28 Feb 14

word of mouth says...

That is NOT a Nazi Swasika. That is a n eastern symbol of peace qand good fortune. The major difference being tha the Nazi version sits on its point. leave this building alone.
That is NOT a Nazi Swasika. That is a n eastern symbol of peace qand good fortune. The major difference being tha the Nazi version sits on its point. leave this building alone. word of mouth
  • Score: 8

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