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.


Jane said...

Yelfy, I love all your coal hole pics and the info you have on them. Where are you getting it all from?
I recently decided to add this vein to my (long) list of 'collectables' and tried to Google some info for the ones I see up here in North London, but to no avail. My collection so far is limited as I have been pre-occupied with ghost signs, bootscrapers, pub signs and the like but I found someone else's fab collection on Flickr the other day;
Am I envious or what?!

Anonymous said...

I must say I'm getting quite attached to the coal-hole covers. I like stumbling across a new one, especially if it has a makers name included in the design but like yourself I couldnb't find much information on the web, which is why I decided to create a sort of personal 'directory' of all the manufacturers with an example of their work. Who knows, over time it might become a useful reference!

Anonymous said...

wotcher, I saw a slightly better preserved J.W.CUNNINHAM cover on Stamford Street today, and greatly enjoyed your collection on Flickr; bravo