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23 Septiembre 2013

Who needs a referendum? Separation of Scotland from England begins as craftsmen rebuild Hadrian's Wall a year ahead of crucial poll

Four dryliners from Cumbria shore up weak sections of Roman frontier. £500,000 project involves using the original stone to reinforce the wall. Workers joke that the wall will divide the Scots and the English again if next year's referendum passes.

HUGO GYE

The Daily Mail (Reino Unido) [Crónica]

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The referendum on whether Scotland should leave the UK is still a year away - but a group of craftsmen have already started the job of dividing England from its northern neighbour.

Four dryliners from Cumbria are helping to rebuild parts of Hadrian's Wall, which was erected by the Romans to keep the 'barbarian' inhabitants of Scotland out of 'civilised' England.

The project is intended as a way of protecting the ancient stone wall - but one of the workers jokes that they may have to reinforce the barrier with concrete if the referendum is successful in splitting up Britain.

Hadrian's Wall was built in the 2nd century AD and manned by Roman soldiers, who wanted to protect their British territory from the Picts who lived in what is now Scotland.

Ever since the Act of Union in 1707, the wall has run across the middle of the United Kingdom - but after next year's referendum, it could become an international border once again.

Every inhabitant of Scotland will be asked to vote on the question, 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' on September 18 next year.

Most polls suggest that the referendum question is likely to be rejected, but if it succeeds it will fundamentally change the landscape of Britain.

The four dryliners who are rebuilding Hadrian's Wall are more interested in contributing to history than arguing about politics, however.

George Allonby, Mark Jennings, Steven Allen and Geoff Capstick are taking original Roman stone from stronger sections of the wall in order to reinforce the weaker sections.

They are shifting 10 tonnes of stone every day as part of the £500,000 project, which was commissioned by the Hadrian's Wall Trust and will continue until the end of next month.

'This is a really enjoyable job,' Mr Allen said. 'To think you're working with stone somebody put in 2,000 years ago. And leaving something at the end of the day that'll be there in 200 to 300 years - there's not many jobs that are like that.

'It's about picking the right stone to go in the right place. You've got to look for the one that's going to fit. That comes with experience. It's a big jigsaw.'

Bryan Scott, from the Hadrian's Wall Trust, said: 'By repairing the dry stone wall we're protecting the Roman wall underneath.

'The wall was built to separate Romans and barbarians. The wall is still used as a boundary - but now it's between fields rather than Romans and barbarians.'

Mr Scott also joked that it might be time to rebuild the wall entirely if the independence referendum drives England and Scotland apart.

'A local civil engineering firm was asked to calculate the cost of a wall made of concrete,' he said. 'It was £80million at 1974 prices - maybe we should think about it if there is a 'yes' vote for Scottish independence next year?'

 

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