Sunday, 24 August 2008

Assorted London Coalholes

I've recorded a few more intriguing coalholes on recent journeys - including an exceptionally fine ones for the trophy cabinet!

Green & London, Chelsea, London SW (Fulham Road)
This one is a bit splattered with chewing gum but still shows its' local roots. Not a bad pattern - a bit reminiscent of a compass I think.
Hayward's Non-Slip Patent (spotted in Charring Cross)
Instead of the usual metallic pattern incorporating lots of ridges and lines, Hayward's obviously thought that having a concrete in-fill was the way to go. They still kept the glass lights and the metallic, embossed name in the centre but it's a bit bland and I can't say it's one of my favourite designs.
Addis's, Leicester Street, Leicester Square (Spotted near Regent Street)
Very strong and distinctive design where the typography is as prominent as the decoration. I don't know if the Star of David effect at the centre was purely decorative or whether it had some other significance - could it be that Addis was a Jewish-owned company? Anyway, it's certainly a strong and distinctive design.
Hayward Brothers, London
Looks like an earlier effort to incorporate concrete into the manhole cover. Slightly more attractive than the one above and not without a hint of charm, but really not a coal-hole to boast about at cocktail parties ...
J.W. Cunningham & Co., 196, Blackfriars Road S.E. - Iron Steel and Grindstone Merchants 1882 (spotted in Lower Marsh Street, Waterloo)
Well spotting this one is like having a penny Black in the collection, or some rare First Edition.
How much better can a coal hole cover get? Dogs, three-legged pots and all the information you can want about the makers. If that isn't enough you then find out it's 'highly sought-after' by the Greater London Industrial Archaoelogical Society who have some interesting information about the origin of the sign . To quote from the site above

Lily Goddard in her book 'Coalhole Rubbings' (1979) adds this.

'In 1823 young Charles Dickens, walking home to Lant Street, Southwark, over Blackfriars Bridge and into Blackfriars Road, noticed the sign of the 'Dog's Head in a Pot over a corner shop in St Georges Terrace, 'the likeness of a golden dog licking a golden pot over a shop door,' he wrote to a friend. This wooden effigy, preserved in the Cumings Museum (sic) in Southwark, had been known to people in the Borough since 1783 as the sign of an ironmonger's establishment.'
Haywards Limited Patent, Union Street, Borough, London - Self Locking (spotted on The Strand)
Larger than average as it was for an establishment, not a private dwelling, this effort looks more like a man-hole cover with its pattern of radiating diamonds.

Monday, 11 August 2008

More Horse and Cattle Troughs

Following the dictum that you can't have too much of a good thing here are a few more Horse and Cattle Troughs that I've come across on my travels. All of them are granite troughs provided by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association

Norstead Place, Roehampton
Just by the busy A3 and opposite the cemetery (where no doubt horses pulling hearses were grateful for a rest during the service) this particular trough is even visible from satellite! All the metal fittings have been removed except for what I take to be a link to attach the cup on a chain to. I'm not sure what the rest of the fixing points were for though and there's no evidence of dedications on this one.Could it have been the fixing points for a sign or plaque? The changing road layout has left it slightly beached though.Very convenient for the graveyard opposite though and it's all uphill back to Roehampton!

Clifton Road, Kingston KT2
Tucked just off the main road this solid looking trough still has the metal grill at one end and is just for the horses. No water for humans or dogs on this one.
The dedication on the road side reads 'Gift of Miss G. L. Paterson'
Cottenham Park Road, Raynes Park
This is an intriguing trough that must have been pretty much in the country when it was set up. Now it's tucked down an insignificant side road and dead end but at least it has a nice flush of greenery to set it off. There's a metal basket at one end and I'd be interested to know what the point of it was

The 'Push' button is still in place though. I assume this would have topped the trough up if it was getting a bit low. There was also a dedication at the other end but sadly it is now unreadable and although I think the date was 1895 even that isn't too clear.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


Bootscrapers are one of those items of street furniture that are now pretty much redundant. Can you recall the last time you felt the urge to remove the accumulate sludge from your own shoe arches? I suppose at a time of poor drainage, cobbled streets and a multitude of horses then it might have been a good move to at least make the effort to remove any obvious aromatic lumps before visiting a customer, Bank Manager or church. Now days though they have either been filled in, removed or just left to rot as there's not many alternative uses around (although one newsagent has made a valient effort!)

Parsons Green, Fulham

The villas to the east of the green have their date of construction recorded above the door (1770's seem to be the average). This is the only one to retain a scraper by the front gate though.
Off Regent Street, London
I spotted this plain but intact scraper in one of the small streets behind Regent Street. The scraper itself has been adapted into a chaining point for the newsagent to prevent his board being stolen or blown away.
Wimbledon Broadway SW19
Solid, robust and devoid of any Fancy-Dan trimmings, this is one of a pair outside a local Catholic ChurchChurch
Wimbledon Village, SW19
My limited knowledge of bootscrapers doesn't stop me from recognising one of the most common decorative features - the head of a Medieval King at the top of the arch. Why this should be the case I've no idea but the head is about the best preserved feature of this sadly decayed scraper
Wimbledon Village, SW19
This example is situated outside a very impressive looking bank and has the simplicity and authority of a great Victorian institution
Clapham Common, Old Town
This one has the look of a home-made effort, although I'm sure it's not. I wonder who swept the scrapings out at the end of the week?
Upper Richmond Road, Putney SW15
The whole scraper is quietly rusting away in this example. No-one can even be bothered to remove the scraper section which now lies unused on the floor.