Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Coal Hole Covers

London The Unfinished City
A typical Hayward Brothers Coal Plate, that is roughly 150 years old.

While walking the streets of London, I always make sure to look down as well as up. It was on one of walks from Kensington to Baker Street, via a convoluted route, that I properly noticed these small, iron plates. I had passed them many times before, but I had never really paid them much attention. What a mistake?!

These are Coal Hole Covers, which are fast vanishing from London's streets. Some of them are plain, while others are quite ornate. Some have no wording, which makes it difficult to identify the manufacturer, while others are proudly stamped with the ironmongers name, or company.

Brief History

On many of London's more affluent streets, coal men delivered the coal via a chute in the street. This saved the men from lugging the heavy coal sacks too far, plus, avoided the need for them to enter the house.

These coal covers, made of cast iron, were locked from beneath and, being circular, were easy to roll aside.

Many of these covers have been lost as areas are redeveloped, but if you look hard enough you can still see them, literally, dotted around.

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