Thursday, 22 July 2010

London Coalhole Cover 'Lost' In Maidstone!

I was in Maidstone, Kent this morning for a bit of a family 'do' when I came across this interesting coalhole cover. I say 'came across' but actually it had been covered with a very heavy A board which I had to grapple to the side before I could get a good look.

'Faded London' has been on tour before and as we are looking at a London foundry - and one I hadn't recorded before - I felt more than justified in adding it to the canon. As you can see it's quite an ornate and interesting design with quite a lot of clues as to the producer

The Hope Foundry Co.
5 Upper Thames Street
London EC 

Despite all the information I haven't had much luck so far in tracing the Hope Foundry and it's not listed in Gillian Cooksey's excellent "Artistry and History Underfoot". There are certainly mentions of the name, such as this one
Hope Foundry Co.
The Hope Foundry and Engineering Co. is recorded as making sad irons at the Hope Works in West Bromwich, c1866. It is possible that there was also a Hope Foundry in Leeds.
but it's more than likely that these were entirely seperate enterprises although I supose I can't rule out the possibility of a London branch. In a trade journal from1870 I also came across the General Iron Foundry Co. oalso based in Upper Thames Street that was apparently selling stoves, mantels, and bronzes but again whether or not this has anything to do the Hope Foundry - whether by using the same site or just by way of a change of name - remains to be seen.  

There were quite a few small-scale local foundaries at the time and I suppose it's more than possible that many weren't that long lived. It could be I've a bit of a rarity here but only time and a bit more research will tell.


HughB said...

I hope you put the A board back - otherwise that lovely manhole cover could end up in a melting pot in China or India, whichever is leading the scrap metal bidding at the moment!

Sebastien Ardouin said...

Nice one Yelfy. I've got some pictures of coalhole covers by Alfred Solomons, of 195 & 197 Caledonian Road, N. 1. with a very similar design. The plain edges are wider and there is nothing written across the central part, but apart from that, the patterns are exactly the same. There are several along Doughty Road and around in Bloomsbury.
By the way, I add a link to your blog from a new one I started writing recently (
All the best.