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Calvin72

Drainspotting!

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Charles Ross of Heeley who is mentioned on my thread about Sheffield Tramway remnants.

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Is this the furthest Sheffield imported it's manhole covers?

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Here's a couple more drain covers with the name of the foundry cast into them.

Can anyone date these? I've done a quick internet serach but have turned up a complete blank so far! Both covers are in the Broomhill area.

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In October 1899 the Brightside Foundry Company became the Brightside Foundry and Engineering Company with the amalgamation of J.C and J.S Ellis Ltd, and Walker, Eaton and Co. The resulting firm was still operating in 1949.

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Saw some 1897 dated drain covers at the bottom of Backfields today. Is it wrong that I got a bit excited?

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I know this isn't in Sheffield but to import from 3,000 miles away and set in the pavement in Monaghan town in Ireland is beyond belief, why not buy from our Iron works?

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I know this isn't in Sheffield but to imported from 3,000 miles away and set in the pavement in Monaghan town in Ireland is beyond believe, why not buy from our Iron works?

I think I may be able to answer this one! It's possible that cast iron was imported from America to Ireland because it was good ballast for ships which would otherwise have been returning empty to the UK. A ship doing a route such as Liverpool - Belfast - New York would normally have been full of British produced goods on the outward journey, but may have returned empty or at least carrying goods of little weight. As all cargo ships need balast when empty, it's likely they would have been seeking a return load of something with some weight, such as cast iron, which probably got carried for minimal cost. On arrival back at Belfast our ship would probably load up again for London, so the cast iron would be offloaded and sold. If you can carry drain coves you can sell in Ireland (even at a cut price) it beats carrying a ballast loads of rocks which are worthless. And if the cast iron is sold at a cut price, it may even ahve been cheaper than the loaclly produces Irish stuff!

That's my theory anyway. Are there any maritime historians out there who can confirm this might be the case?

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Saw some 1897 dated drain covers at the bottom of Backfields today. Is it wrong that I got a bit excited?

I'll see your 1897 and raise you a Sheffield Corporation 1896!

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No idea what this is - never seen another one.

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I think I may be able to answer this one! It's possible that cast iron was imported from America to Ireland because it was good ballast for ships which would otherwise have been returning empty to the UK. A ship doing a route such as Liverpool - Belfast - New York would normally have been full of British produced goods on the outward journey, but may have returned empty or at least carrying goods of little weight. As all cargo ships need balast when empty, it's likely they would have been seeking a return load of something with some weight, such as cast iron, which probably got carried for minimal cost. On arrival back at Belfast our ship would probably load up again for London, so the cast iron would be offloaded and sold. If you can carry drain coves you can sell in Ireland (even at a cut price) it beats carrying a ballast loads of rocks which are worthless. And if the cast iron is sold at a cut price, it may even ahve been cheaper than the loaclly produces Irish stuff!

That's my theory anyway. Are there any maritime historians out there who can confirm this might be the case?

I went on the boating lake in the park once, does that count. lol

Cargo ships did indeed carry heavy items on the return journeys for just that reason, so your theory makes sense.

Cargo ships nowadays have ballast tanks which are filled with water for the return journey. It has since been realised that this can cause ecological damage. By transferring marine life across the globe, along with the water, the natural balance can be upset.

There we go, messing about with nature again. :mellow:

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No idea what this is - never seen another one.

Lots of those in Endcliffe Park and all dated 1936.

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Lots of those in Endcliffe Park and all dated 1936.

Interesting - mine is in old industrial Attercliffe - wonder what the link is?

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Andy1702 is probably correct about the American cast Iron Water Meter boxes as ballast, I never thought about that but isn't there a pile of crockery or bricks somewhere down south that was just dumped near the dock, this too was just ballast.

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Sheffield Corporation 1904 - Midland Street.

And this odd thing on Margaret Street (Non-Metallic) which has been cut down to fit the drain size.

Here's a crop of the side which is cut down - can't make out what it used to say.

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"The true extent of the rising crime of manhole and drain cover thefts can be revealed today – as councils resort to replacing covers with non-metal ones in an attempt to thwart the thieves."

Article

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Sheffield Corporation 1904 - Midland Street.

attachicon.gifSheff Corporation-1904-Midland St.jpg

And this odd thing on Margaret Street (Non-Metallic) which has been cut down to fit the drain size.

attachicon.gifNon-Metallic-Margaret St.jpg

Here's a crop of the side which is cut down - can't make out what it used to say.

attachicon.gifNon-Metallic crop.jpg

The end of the word is "grate". There is one manufacturer of these things called "Envirograte" but I can't resolve "Enviro" out of the remaining letters.

HD

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Well spotted HD.

I've had a look at Non metallic cover makers, but I can't make a match either.

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Drain Spotting report in Today's metro!

It looks a bit boring in Lancashire though compared to Sheffield :)

http://metro.co.uk/2014/01/30/thought-trainspotting-was-odd-meet-the-drain-spotter-4284503?ITO=SendToAFriend

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Not sure what to think about all our previous theories now...

Sheffield Corporation 1892!

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The question is when did they change to that style from the smaller 'Local Board' type ones?

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I am slowly pieceing together my thoughts on what can be worked out about Sheffield's history from it's drains. We have seen many 'Sheffield Corporation' drain covers with dates partially, or completely, obscured by time and damage. Maybe the 1892 example is not so unusual in itself but in that it has survived in such good condition (it is on a little used side street in a former industrial area).

I am sure that the development of the street layouts that we know today are often linked to the expansion of the Electric Tramway in 1899-1902 hence many drain covers with those dates on (i wonder when and why they started dating the drains?). Sheffield became a City in 1893 and in the same year Parliament passed the Sheffield (Street Widening) Act which paved :) the way for the planned electrification of the Tramway. It was also required by the 1897 Streets and Tramways Act that a gap of 9 feet 6 inches was left between the tracks and the kerb if requested by traders or residents. Throw in the need for improved drainage when the Tramway was in place and you have the need for a major programme of such work in the late 1890s.

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I am slowly pieceing together my thoughts on what can be worked out about Sheffield's history from it's drains. We have seen many 'Sheffield Corporation' drain covers with dates partially, or completely, obscured by time and damage. Maybe the 1892 example is not so unusual in itself but in that it has survived in such good condition (it is on a little used side street in a former industrial area).

I am sure that the development of the street layouts that we know today are often linked to the expansion of the Electric Tramway in 1899-1902 hence many drain covers with those dates on (i wonder when and why they started dating the drains?). Sheffield became a City in 1893 and in the same year Parliament passed the Sheffield (Street Widening) Act which paved :) the way for the planned electrification of the Tramway. It was also required by the 1897 Streets and Tramways Act that a gap of 9 feet 6 inches was left between the tracks and the kerb if requested by traders or residents. Throw in the need for improved drainage when the Tramway was in place and you have the need for a major programme of such work in the late 1890s.

9'6" is the usual measurement from the tramway to the kerb on traditional tramways. Tramway companies across the country (in this case the Corporation from the start) were responsible for the upkeep of the road surface between the rails and to 6 inches either side. The remaining 9' would normally be the responsibility of the local council. Sheffield is unusual in that the electric tramway was owned by the Corporation right from the start. In many places the tramway would be instigated by a private company. However after a period of time (I think it may be 21 years) local authorities had the right to buy out any private tramway and most used the option. So in most cases, although not in Sheffield at the time of electrification, part of the roadsurface was maintained by the local authority and part of it by the tramway company. That's why in many old photos you'll see part of the road is cobbled and part is tarmac.

The 9' at the side of the tramways is because it was the norm for other vehicles to 'undertake' trams. Unlike the supertrams of today, traditional trams ran down the middle of the street, as close as possible to the very centre of the road and other traffic would move on the outside of them. This meat queuing passengers had to board in the middle of the carriageway, which was one reason for the demise of the first generation system.

I'm not sure about Sheffield, but in Blackpool, when the Blackpool & Fleetwood tramway opened, there was a narrow piece of road round the back of Gynn Square where the tracks didn't quite meet the 9 foot from the kerb rule. Local charabanc operators took advantage of this and parked a vehicle at the kerbside during the pre-opening board of trade inspection of the system, blocking the Blackpool end of the route. The man from the ministry refused to sign the tramway off for running until the road was widened and the track relayed by the private operating company. A popular music hall singer at the time even wrote a song about it:

Oh the cars don't run in Blackpool,

So we started just outside.

For the Blackpool streets are narrow,

And the Blackpool buses wide!

But they're going to widen all the streets,

Of Blackpool just for fun.

And when they've widened all the streets,

Why then the cars will run!

So right you are for Blackpool!

For Fleetwood right you are!

And Dolly and me,

Sat viz-a-vee,

On the new electric car!

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Sheffield Electric Light and Power Board - any idea of dates? This is the only one of these i have seen anywhere.

I have recently seen another couple of these in Eccleshall, i think on Westbourne Grove. The one in the photo is near the University on Durham Road. Strange how these few have survived and they still appear to be in reasonably good condition. Every time i go out to look at the pavement i am left scratching my head :huh:

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Next to a modern BT pavement feature is a 'Post Office Telegraphs' one. Note the conditions are almost identical despite one being much older.

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A late Nineteenth century brief experiment with extra slats - only seen a couple of these, wonder what they changed it for?

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