Slow news week, our local rag The Gazelle & Herod decided to report on the country’s most vital subject, Philip Schofield’s sexual orientation, as if he lives in Burbage or somewhere, so why can’t I focus on something irrelevant too? Like the world’s most famous fences. Yeah, as you ponder daring to whisk across your lawn and rescue fence panels, pirouetting trampolines and low flying plant pots, I thought yeah, this is bound to cheer you up.
It might even inspire you for your new fence, after Storm Ciara has done her worst. After all, seems researching a topic such as the most world-famous fences, most of the data is provided by fencing companies. They generally begin by explaining the reasons for installing a fence, be it privacy, security, or decoration. But many of our best fences have other reasons for being; preventing wild animal invasions, cultural, political, or, and do not take off-fence (ba-boom) for hanging women’s undergarments on. So, for your reading pleasure, here’s my chart rundown of the world’s most famous fences; you don’t have to thank me. My sanity was on a hinge browsing “Fencebook” today, what with the perpetual OMG posts of people’s fallen fences.
1: The Great Wall of China
Such an obscure and bizarre subject cannot be comprehensive without some deviation from its limitations, so many cite The Great Wall of China, or the Wànlǐ Chángchéng, as the world’s most famous fence; yeah, I know, there’s a clue in its name, it’s not a fence. Cheating Ming Dynasty Chinese, but you’ve got to admit, it deserves to be top of the fences, for its age, history and simple fact it’s so mightily impressive you can see it from space, if you were in space, which you’re most probably not, so I don’t know why I mentioned it.
2: Hadrian’s Wall
If it’s good enough for the Chinese it’s good enough for us Brits. Again, the second on most lists is a wall, not a fence; what a rip off. Heck, you all know the story of Emperor Hadrian commissioning a coast-to-coast wall to keep out those pesky Scottish barbarians, I haven’t got the leather elbow patches to be any more of a history teacher than that. Let’s just thank our lucky stars it’s not happening today or Hadrian’s act might have been viewed as “Trumpish.” These days though, the wall has disintegrated and wouldn’t keep a haggis from leaping over it, as they regularly do.
3: The Berlin Wall
One last wall then, if we’re going to have walls, we cannot forget the Berlin Wall. It physically and ideologically separated Berlin from 1961 to 1989, protecting its population from fascist rudiments conspiring to avert the “will of the people” from building a socialist state in East Germany. The evening of the 9th November 1989 is known as the night the Wall came down, and marked the end of fascism in Germany; funny, we’re only just starting out with ours.
However, prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall, other barriers were disposed of in the breaking of the Iron Curtain, and yay, they do include fences! A long one too, in Hungary, stretching 149 miles it bordered Austria. In April 1989, the Hungarian government ordered the electricity in the barbed-wire border fence turned off, and consequently it was removed shortly after.
4. Dingo Fence
But if you want length in your fence, as many do, consider South East Australia’s The Dingo Fence, for it’s the longest real fence in the world, in fact, at approximately 3,400 miles, it’s one of the longest structures in the world. This beaut will stretch from London to New York, and was constructed in the 1880s to protect sheep on southern Queensland ranches from attacks by wild dogs. Without wild dogs hunting though, the population of kangaroos and emus exploded on the south-eastern side of the fence. While us pommes have an affection for kangaroos, they can be a pest in Oz. Pass the burger relish and put another roo on the barbie, Shelia.
5. Buckingham Palace Fence
Gawd bless her, she’s got a lovely fence to help keep her safe, along with her five regiments of guards, who will bayonet you in the ribs for the slightest mickey-taking. Though many have climbed it, and few succeeded, its elegant cast-iron stakes, topped with extravagant gilded fleurs-de-lis symbolises the theme of our national anthem; she’s pretty safe in there, God. Yep, sure is one highly decorative set of railings, the envy of foreign tourists, especially our Yankie-doodle friends, whose rather plain White House security fence pales in comparison. In fact, unless you’re reading an American “World’s Most Famous Fences” website, it barely gets a mention.
6. Aquarium Fence
If you want to really show off though, and get one over on her majesty, and the neighbouring Jones’, here’s the ideal plan after Storm Ciara has taken it out on your fence. Leave it, let it go, and ping a message to Turkish billionaire Mehmet Ali Gökçeoğlu, ask him where he got his fence from, because it’s more likely Jollyes pet shop than B&Q. I’m not shitting you here, the guy’s got an aquarium of fish, eels and octopus for his 164-metre fence, attracting tourists from all over the world. Poachers watch out though, he’s had to put 17 security cameras around it.
7. Paris Lock Fence
Apparently, fastening a padlock to a fence and throwing away the key is popular symbolism of undying love; I’m not that romantic. Such a gesture is commonly done on the fence of the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, until the weight of thousands of padlocks caused a six and half section of it to collapse. The accident didn’t cause any physical injuries, just a few broken hearts. And?
8. Glastonbury Festival Security Fence
Quite honestly, I’m so shocked this one hasn’t been churned up through research, I felt the need to add it myself. Over the course of fifty years the festival felt the need to increase its security with a bigger fence. Ode to that corrugated fence, how many scaled its heights are incalculable, but it was all part of the Glastonbury experience. Saunter along the perimeter to find abandoned rope ladders, stalls, and Scousers willing to bunk you over for a tenner or couple of spliff-worths. One year in the mid-nineties, memory doesn’t serve me too well, it collapsed completely and no one battered an eyelid when campers set up temporary residence in the fields outside. It’s all history now, as 2002 saw the unveiling of a new £1m, five-mile perimeter fence with a second barrier that put an end to people jumping in. Probably for the best, festival goers now would only get caught, or least break their phone, as they attempt a live-stream or selfie whilst atop of it.
9: The Green Monster
Perhaps the most iconic fences in the USA are ones surrounding baseball fields. Take Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, dubbed the Green Monster, as it was painted green in 1947 to match the rest of the field; nothing escapes those Americans. Built to protect Fenway Park from gate crashers, it also protects outsiders from flyaway baseballs.
But the right field boundary at AT&T Park in California has a reputation as a “hitters’ ballpark,” due to the fact its shorter than most baseball fences, also means you can illegally watch the game from a boat from McCovey Cove, just the other side of the San Francisco fence.
10. Bra Fence
Save the best till last, at least the most titillating. Despite it not being the most renowned fence, it’s aptly quickly gathering attention. You should note, in acts of random fascination, fastening assortments of everyday objects to fences is a national obsession in New Zealand. But teapots, rubber boots and shoes have had their day, and the jewel in the Kiwi crown is the bra fence in Cardrona. There was no meaning as to why women starting whipping off their knocker lockers and attaching them to this fence in 1998, dubbed Bradrona, but this tourist attraction and obviously prime photo opportunity has raised over $40,000 for breast cancer research.
But if you think, only in Australia, interesting to note a bra fence has also taken off in the Eyjafjöll mountains of Iceland, where the climate is bound to raise more of a nip (in the air I mean.) Here’s a plan then, if you’ve said goodbye to your fence in the storm. I know it’s something I’m considering, but getting approval from the better half may be tricky, and it’s not the ideal season to sleep in the dog house.
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