Tuesday, 29 September 2009

For Lovers Of Bollards and Lightwells ...

A nice example of a Hayward's Pattern 51 Design F

I'm sure I'm not the only one whose heart quickens at the sight of an intriguing new lightwell, or who has an irresistible urge to gentle caress the cool, worn top of a nicely rounded bollard. Well more 'hoping' than 'sure', but here's some exciting news for those of us already salivating at the prospect of some new, fresh titillation for our jaded palettes.

The first item is from Ian Macky in far-off California. Ian has his own website devoted to glass in all it's many forms and uses and I first came across it when I was looking for some information about the Hayward Brothers of Borough. I was after information on coalholes, but Ian's interest lay mainly with the glass prisms in the lightwells and when I had a look at his site it was obvious I was in the presence of a master. Not only did he have an entire transcription of the history of Hayward Brothers but the levels of detail he was prepared to go to and the fact that I ended up spending ages ferreting around finding out loads of interesting stuff about a subject new to me confirmed Glassian as a top-notch resource. So when he dropped me a line the other week I knew it would be good...
Hi Yelfy, I thought you would be interested to know I've scanned/transcribed my Hayward Brothers pavement lights catalogue and posted it to Glassian. It's here:

It identifies some of your unidentified lights, for example, the last photo of the tile/glass light is HAYWARD'S TILE AND LENS LIGHT pattern #51 (design F), as shown on page 34 (Nice piece! I'm surprised to see one still in such good shape); the one above it with the hexagonal lights appears to be their #3 "Edinburgh" pattern light (see page 16).

There's also a 300DPI scan of the entire catalogue, 150MB in total, as a tarball here:
A Haywards 'Edinburgh' pattern lightwell

A Pavement Lights Catalogue? How good is that? Apart from wondering where on earth you find such a document it opens up whole new layers of possible conversational gambits whilst strolling with friends through town! Many thanks for that Ian. Even if you're not interested in lightwells per se (hard to believe but I'm sure there's a few out there) it's still an interesting read and the Galssian site is well worth a browse on its own.

A Westminster bollard. One of Scott's maybe?

On then to bollards. I put together a posting on bollards over a year ago because I'd noticed a couple of older looking specimens in the Putney/Roehampton area and they reminded me of the old 'cannon' designs you still see now and then. Finding old bollards proved to be a bit of a challenge but I was quite impressed by the quality and styling of the more modern versions so I was pleased to receive an email from Scott Chafer giving some more background detail on both old bollards and the newer types his company manufactures. He also included a number of interesting links to a number of sites dealing with various aspects of foundry work and casting and to cap it all his letter has an excellent opening line...
I stumbled accross your blog whilst perusing the world of street furniture on the Web.
My company manufactures traditional cast iron street furniture, we have been going since 1907 on a site that has a rich history of casting way before this. Records from 1860 show a foundry on this site and indicate that it was far from new even then.
We hold patterns for many of Britains traditional style bollards, the Oxford, City of London, Exeter, Manchester, Blackpool, Liverpool - the list goes on into the hundreds.
We still cast these bollards including a few versions of your beloved Cannon! - Not made from old cannons unfortunately but not too many were, they were mainly cast to look like they were.

Nowadays, all our castings are from 100% recycled materials but we still stick to the high standards of design and quality of the past. As you probably know, much of the modern versions of the traditional street furniture items are imported from China and other such places, whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with these products they can be of questionable quality at times and environmentally are not great - I also consider them to be a bit soul-less.

The importing of Iron from China is quite interesting. Granted, there are comparatively few foundries left in the UK but they are far from rare. (There are 3 within a 25 mile radius of our own - but we are in the industrial North!). People can save money importing their iron but there is so much lost in the process. It is fine if somebody wants 10,000 bollards that all look the same but who wants to live in a world like that?

We like to make things that WILL be there in 100 years (there are some of our bollards around that are that old). There is a good feeling when a post or bollard is supplied and you know that it's really going to last - unless of course an Articulated Truck ploughs it over, but then it has done its job (better the bollard than the human) and that's also the modern world.
It is good to stumble accross people who have a passion for street furniture and traditional products. We still cast everything the old way here - sand mould, made on site and poured as airset castings on the foundry floor. We manufacture modern items too (we are a business after all) but our passion is for cast iron and traditional values.

Please feel free to follow these links - they may be of a little interest:
www.castironbollards.co.uk - our site dedicated to cast iron bollards
www.asfco.co.uk - our main street furniture site
www.wbwhitefoundry.co.uk - just so you can visit our Foundry!
All the best, Scott Chafer
With an attitude to quality like that I can see future bloggers eagerly snapping photos of Scott's bollards in the next century! Good luck to him and his company and long may they prosper.

1 comment:

Lucy R. Fisher said...

Perhaps you could solve the mystery of the buried bollards of Royal Oak: http://www.flickr.com/photos/37553027@N02/5707682115/ They seem to be hacked out of granite. And they seem to have been there before the building they are half sunk in, and before the railway bridge (the slope up to it has half-buried one of them). So they must be pre-railway.