Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Looking for our vanished history on the side of the road ........... the drainage grid

I have to say I can never get enough of street furniture or the history that they have to tell.

Recently I pondered on the demise of the finger post and before that the water trough and the iconic red telephone kiosk.

More humble than all of these but with a story to tell are the cast iron drainage grids that adorn the side of all our roads.

This one from 1936 belongs to Manchester Corporation and the picture was taken by Graham Gill who first floated the idea of looking for these bits of the past.

Now there are also shed loads of those that date from now defunct authorities.

Somewhere in the collection is one from Withington UDC which had a short history from the mid 1890s to 1904 and was wound up when the four townships of Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Withington, Burnage and Didsbury voted to join Manchester.

And across the country there will be plenty more grids still in place bearing the names of similar lost authorities.

In Eltham, Woolwich and Plumstead I bet there will be some bearing the old Borough of Woolwich title and more in Deptford and other London Boroughs which were amalgamated.

So the challenge is there, from Well Hall and Woolwich to Withington, Stretford and Levenshulme to record the lost drain covers, and by extension their Town Halls, letter heads and any other relics.

Which in turn could lead to stories on the growing responsibilities of local authorities and a bit of their own unique history.

Location; everywhere

Picture; Manchester Corporation street grid, 1936, from the collection of Graham Gill

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