Welcome to my blog about coalhole covers (or, in Latin opercula) of the UK. I've been a bit obsessed about these for a few years as I marvelled at the lovely design of some of them, their history and what they told us about the way people used to live.
They are usually set into pavements or just within the curtilage of houses in towns and cities where the properties had cellars containing coalholes. The cover would be lifted by the coalman and the coal poured down into the underground cellar. A door from the inside would allow the householder (or their servant) to fill a coal scuttle and then stoke the fires of the house. Their use meant that there was no mess and dust of having the coal delivered.
They are increasingly being lost as Councils replace pavements.
The designs reveal the forgotten industrial history of our towns - in many cases the covers are marked with the name of the foundry where they were made. These have often disappeared.
A few years ago I started to record the coalhole covers in my home town of Brighton by photographing them.Then I took it one step further and took rubbings of them. Photographs of my rubbings are on this blog and I aim to post a photo of each different design I find.
Unless otherwise stated, all photos are by me and are in the UK. Please contact me with any comments and contribute history or your photos.
This is the largest collection of coal hole cover photos on the web (that I've found).
Andrew 'Coalhole' Coleman