Tuesday, 21 August 2012

London by the Sea, Part 2?

On Third Avenue, the Hove seafront and in Adelaide Crescent, I found these unusual coalhole covers, all apparently from London suppliers, one of them from Nicholls and Clarke of Shoreditch.

Adelaide Crescent was disappointing as the pavements have obviously been repaved in the recent past and nearly all coalhole covers removed. However, one of them was a 1856 Chapman Parsons cover from Pimlico, which I've not seen before.

Monday, 20 August 2012


Usually Brighton is known as London by the Sea, but as far as coalhole covers are concerned, it appears to be Hove (actually).

I recently spent a sunny and fruitful lunchtime in Third Avenue, a little bit of the seafront and then Adelaide Crescent - a very grand Regency crescent.

In Third Avenue there was a rich haul of Haywards covers, some of which I've not seen before. Some are pictured here. My particular favourites are the 'cross' design and the 'No.3' design with hexagonal windows. There was also a previously unseen 'Nicholls and Clarke' design from Shoreditch.

Perhaps, Brighton was considered a little too vulgar to supply coalhole covers and one hailing from London had greater coalhole cachet?

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hail, the Hayward Brothers

The most common name you'll see on coalhole covers in either London or Brighton is that of the Hayward Brothers, of Union Street, Borough (now London SE1). So who were these chaps?

The Faded London blog has a good little potted history of them and it seems they were the archetypal Victorian entrepreneurs, starting off as glaziers (they patented a famous design of pavement light) and bought an ironmongery business in 1848. Thenceforward, the impressively bewhiskered siblings built and expanded a foundry in Borough, paving our streets with iron and street art.

One of the brothers' greatest services to Victorian society was saving them from nasty and embarassing injuries or even death-by-coalhole. Falling down coalholes through an unfastened plate was a regular occurrence in those times and the Hayward Brothers 'safety plate' using a 'twist and lock' mechanism was supposed to cure the problem. So, owners of coalhole cevers be warned - especially so in these times of 'elf and safety' awareness and litigous pedestrians!