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!

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