Swastikas on council building would be "expensive" and need "special permission" to remove, claims county council

Chelmsford Weekly News: Swastikas above a door on County Hall in Chelmsford Swastikas above a door on County Hall in Chelmsford

SWASTIKAS on a county council building have been branded as upsetting to those who fought for their country in the Second World War.

But the authority said removing the symbols would need special permission and prove very costly to the tax payer.

An unknown member of the public submitted a Freedom of Information request to Essex County Council about the symbols, which are carved into County Hall in Chelmsford.

It is believed the Grade II listed building was constructed between 1929 and 1938.

The FOI request, submitted to the council recently, said: “This struck me as strange seeing as the Nazi party formed in 1933 and by March 1938 were beginning an invasion into Austria.

“I wondered if somebody could explain to me why it was still commissioned given the symbol's negative connotations (both at the time and currently)?“

Chelmsford Weekly News:

It's potentially offensive and upsetting to those that lost loved ones in the war or those that fought for their country.”

A spokesman for the county council said: "Plans for the County Hall building were drawn up from 1908 and our records show that the architect was ordered to finalise the plans in October 1926.

"Given similar designs are featured on a number of other public buildings of similar age across the world, including churches and universities, it is important that the symbol is seen in its architectural context.

"This part of County Hall has Grade II listed status and any changes to this frontage could be extremely costly to the public purse and would have to be approved by English Heritage."

Comments (19)

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6:37pm Thu 27 Feb 14

whateverhappened says...

The swastika (卐) is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including Turkic, India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol that invokes Lakshmi - the Vedic goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness.

The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" (meaning "good" or "auspicious") combined with "asti" (meaning "it is"), along with the diminutive suffix "ka." The swastika literally means "it is good." It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbol on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi. The name "sauwastika" is sometimes given to the left-facing arms symbol, which is a mirror image of swastika (卍).[
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.got to love wiki..
The swastika (卐) is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including Turkic, India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol that invokes Lakshmi - the Vedic goddess of wealth, prosperity and auspiciousness. The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" (meaning "good" or "auspicious") combined with "asti" (meaning "it is"), along with the diminutive suffix "ka." The swastika literally means "it is good." It is a common practice for Hindus to draw Swastika symbol on the doors and entrances to their houses during festivals, which is believed to symbolize an invitation to goddess Lakshmi.[1] The name "sauwastika" is sometimes given to the left-facing arms symbol, which is a mirror image of swastika (卍).[ . . . .got to love wiki.. whateverhappened
  • Score: 47

6:53pm Thu 27 Feb 14

SARFENDMAN says...

Do we ban the Union Flag, which was adopted by some extreme right wing political parties for the same reason? Bonkers!
Do we ban the Union Flag, which was adopted by some extreme right wing political parties for the same reason? Bonkers! SARFENDMAN
  • Score: 39

7:38pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Leon__ says...

Must admit, never noticed it before. It does look hideous, given what it eventually came to represent. I think it's actually incredible and unnerving to see it on a British govt building, no matter how innocent its ancient roots are. On the other hand, come to think of it, Chelmsford C.C. could list that entrance as a potential film location backdrop for war movies set in Nazi Germany... could be a nice little earner, Tel, mark my words. (When not being used to win Baftas, best to cover it up with some duct tape from the 99p Store methinks.)
Must admit, never noticed it before. It does look hideous, given what it eventually came to represent. I think it's actually incredible and unnerving to see it on a British govt building, no matter how innocent its ancient roots are. On the other hand, come to think of it, Chelmsford C.C. could list that entrance as a potential film location backdrop for war movies set in Nazi Germany... could be a nice little earner, Tel, mark my words. (When not being used to win Baftas, best to cover it up with some duct tape from the 99p Store methinks.) Leon__
  • Score: -23

7:59pm Thu 27 Feb 14

saveDeanesschool says...

Mmmm...well who would have thought that?
Hanging right over ECC....
Mmmm...well who would have thought that? Hanging right over ECC.... saveDeanesschool
  • Score: 11

8:03pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Mattster says...

What a load of crap, you could easily apply a render coat over it or fix a panel on top for less than £100.
What a load of crap, you could easily apply a render coat over it or fix a panel on top for less than £100. Mattster
  • Score: -10

8:28pm Thu 27 Feb 14

kevst183 says...

It's been like it for over 75 YEARS, just leave it alone. Lots more things need money to be spent on first.
It's been like it for over 75 YEARS, just leave it alone. Lots more things need money to be spent on first. kevst183
  • Score: 47

8:49pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Jack222 says...

They are not Nazi swastikas but Indian Swastikas - tell the complainants to get lost.
They are not Nazi swastikas but Indian Swastikas - tell the complainants to get lost. Jack222
  • Score: 39

8:52pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Jack222 says...

IT's not a Nazi swastika - how often does it have to be said.
IT's not a Nazi swastika - how often does it have to be said. Jack222
  • Score: 30

10:21pm Thu 27 Feb 14

SaveOurStanford says...

(卐) I thought they was an symbol from an older Irish luck well before the Nazis took it? Seriously how upset can they get do they go to the cinema cos there are 3 WW2 films showing at moment and hundreds more on tv so get a grip its just a symbol ! are we allowed to fly any English symbols in case we offend any immigrants ?
(卐) I thought they was an symbol from an older Irish luck well before the Nazis took it? Seriously how upset can they get do they go to the cinema cos there are 3 WW2 films showing at moment and hundreds more on tv so get a grip its just a symbol ! are we allowed to fly any English symbols in case we offend any immigrants ? SaveOurStanford
  • Score: 7

10:33pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Kim Gandy says...

What a load of cobblers. More rampant political correctness.

is this REALLY important when there are cutbacks and daft spending schemes wasting taxpayers' money.

Do people REALLY care? No they don't.

Just another seriously underemployed busybody out to find something, ANYTHING they can complain about and claim is "offensive".

Whoever this do gooder is needs to get a life.

I find the Sphincter of Stars flying from public buildings FAR more offensive as it is not my flag and has been forced upon this country by a bunch of faceless Eurocrats.

There are more things to get bent out of shape about than a pattern on a building, it has taken somebody years to realise looks like a swastika.

For Heaven's sake, whoever you are, go and find some other more suitable and self satisfying occupation like advanced curtain twitching or dropping insects into Venus flytraps.

Dear God....
What a load of cobblers. More rampant political correctness. is this REALLY important when there are cutbacks and daft spending schemes wasting taxpayers' money. Do people REALLY care? No they don't. Just another seriously underemployed busybody out to find something, ANYTHING they can complain about and claim is "offensive". Whoever this do gooder is needs to get a life. I find the Sphincter of Stars flying from public buildings FAR more offensive as it is not my flag and has been forced upon this country by a bunch of faceless Eurocrats. There are more things to get bent out of shape about than a pattern on a building, it has taken somebody years to realise looks like a swastika. For Heaven's sake, whoever you are, go and find some other more suitable and self satisfying occupation like advanced curtain twitching or dropping insects into Venus flytraps. Dear God.... Kim Gandy
  • Score: 15

11:40pm Thu 27 Feb 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
What a load of cobblers. More rampant political correctness.

is this REALLY important when there are cutbacks and daft spending schemes wasting taxpayers' money.

Do people REALLY care? No they don't.

Just another seriously underemployed busybody out to find something, ANYTHING they can complain about and claim is "offensive".

Whoever this do gooder is needs to get a life.

I find the Sphincter of Stars flying from public buildings FAR more offensive as it is not my flag and has been forced upon this country by a bunch of faceless Eurocrats.

There are more things to get bent out of shape about than a pattern on a building, it has taken somebody years to realise looks like a swastika.

For Heaven's sake, whoever you are, go and find some other more suitable and self satisfying occupation like advanced curtain twitching or dropping insects into Venus flytraps.

Dear God....
I agree, if my dear old Dad was still alive, he'd be laughing, at this ridiculous fuss, a Sergeant Major W.O.1, with many honourable and distinguished army conflicts, spanning 39-45, he'd be on Kim's side, on more than this story.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: What a load of cobblers. More rampant political correctness. is this REALLY important when there are cutbacks and daft spending schemes wasting taxpayers' money. Do people REALLY care? No they don't. Just another seriously underemployed busybody out to find something, ANYTHING they can complain about and claim is "offensive". Whoever this do gooder is needs to get a life. I find the Sphincter of Stars flying from public buildings FAR more offensive as it is not my flag and has been forced upon this country by a bunch of faceless Eurocrats. There are more things to get bent out of shape about than a pattern on a building, it has taken somebody years to realise looks like a swastika. For Heaven's sake, whoever you are, go and find some other more suitable and self satisfying occupation like advanced curtain twitching or dropping insects into Venus flytraps. Dear God....[/p][/quote]I agree, if my dear old Dad was still alive, he'd be laughing, at this ridiculous fuss, a Sergeant Major W.O.1, with many honourable and distinguished army conflicts, spanning 39-45, he'd be on Kim's side, on more than this story. carnmountyouknowitmakessense
  • Score: 12

12:53am Fri 28 Feb 14

Nemesis 999 says...

Shows how well politicians are educated , the symbol has to twisted to represent the evil nazi party as long as the angled lines are at 90 degrees it is ok to use. Idiots!
Shows how well politicians are educated , the symbol has to twisted to represent the evil nazi party as long as the angled lines are at 90 degrees it is ok to use. Idiots! Nemesis 999
  • Score: 10

10:49am Fri 28 Feb 14

bazza 1 says...

In the name of God, leave the building alone. It is an Asian sign for peace. I think it originated in India. Some people are so far up their own backsides, they haven't seen the Sun for years. Use the money it WOULD have cost to remove, and fill in some pot holes.
In the name of God, leave the building alone. It is an Asian sign for peace. I think it originated in India. Some people are so far up their own backsides, they haven't seen the Sun for years. Use the money it WOULD have cost to remove, and fill in some pot holes. bazza 1
  • Score: 8

11:51am Fri 28 Feb 14

pembury53 says...

the PC muppets are never happy without something to whinge about..... it's what their life has become ....... try getting a real one or sod off
the PC muppets are never happy without something to whinge about..... it's what their life has become ....... try getting a real one or sod off pembury53
  • Score: 5

12:30pm Fri 28 Feb 14

OMPITA [Intl] says...

As I read this news article it seems to me that the ‘unknown member of the public’ has simply asked a reasonable academic question regarding the origin of these symbols and done little more than float a suggestion that perhaps they might be considered offensive to some people. In my mind that is a reasonable question for somebody with a fertile mind to ask in order to satisfy a matter of personal curiosity.

I see nothing to suggest that this person has requested their removal and indeed I fail to see how a Freedom of Information’ request could in any way be used for such a purpose in any case.

So where has this ‘overexcited babbling response’ apropos the cost and practicability of removal come from? Has some oversensitive ‘shiny butt’ in County Hall misread the fundamental FOI request and gone off half cockk to the media with comments about Architectural Interest; Grade II Listing; English Heritage and so on?

There is something not quite right about this story. Either County Hall has not fully briefed the media on all the salient facts, or else a pig’s ear has been made of the journalistic reportage.
As I read this news article it seems to me that the ‘unknown member of the public’ has simply asked a reasonable academic question regarding the origin of these symbols and done little more than float a suggestion that perhaps they might be considered offensive to some people. In my mind that is a reasonable question for somebody with a fertile mind to ask in order to satisfy a matter of personal curiosity. I see nothing to suggest that this person has requested their removal and indeed I fail to see how a Freedom of Information’ request could in any way be used for such a purpose in any case. So where has this ‘overexcited babbling response’ apropos the cost and practicability of removal come from? Has some oversensitive ‘shiny butt’ in County Hall misread the fundamental FOI request and gone off half cockk to the media with comments about Architectural Interest; Grade II Listing; English Heritage and so on? There is something not quite right about this story. Either County Hall has not fully briefed the media on all the salient facts, or else a pig’s ear has been made of the journalistic reportage. OMPITA [Intl]
  • Score: 2

4:52pm Fri 28 Feb 14

TherealIndiana says...

The Nazi swastika was rotated 45 degrees not as the 'Yantra' depicted on the building. If you rotate Churchills victory sign 180 degrees it means something completely different!
The Nazi swastika was rotated 45 degrees not as the 'Yantra' depicted on the building. If you rotate Churchills victory sign 180 degrees it means something completely different! TherealIndiana
  • Score: 5

9:25pm Fri 28 Feb 14

beejiu says...

Upminster Bridge tube station still has a giant floor-tiling swastika in the ticket hall. It's been there since the 1930's. In fact, you'll find swastikas on many public buildings from this, as it was a common symbol of peace. The fact that the symbol was adopted by the Nazi party doesn't change it's historical significance as a symbol of peace. I don't think we should be censoring history.
Upminster Bridge tube station still has a giant floor-tiling swastika in the ticket hall. It's been there since the 1930's. In fact, you'll find swastikas on many public buildings from this, as it was a common symbol of peace. The fact that the symbol was adopted by the Nazi party doesn't change it's historical significance as a symbol of peace. I don't think we should be censoring history. beejiu
  • Score: 5

11:06pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Letmetryagain says...

I wonder how many people have noticed them before now ?
I wonder how many people have noticed them before now ? Letmetryagain
  • Score: 2

9:08am Sat 1 Mar 14

Noteworthy says...

There's a WWI memorial near the Queen's estate in balmoral covered in Swastikas, it had different meanings before a bad tempered German who couldn't grow a proper moustache got hold of it...
There's a WWI memorial near the Queen's estate in balmoral covered in Swastikas, it had different meanings before a bad tempered German who couldn't grow a proper moustache got hold of it... Noteworthy
  • Score: 3

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