We’ve finally done it! After a year of research, lots of photograph taking and a bit of head scratching, Calvin and I are pleased to announce the publication of our first book ‘Drainspotting: A Guide To The Pavement Features Of Sheffield’.
This project came about after it was suggested we put pen to paper as a way of collating the wealth of historical information we were gathering after Calvin noticed that many of the cast iron features still to be found in Sheffield’s streets had not just maker’s names, but also dates of manufacture cast into them. We soon discovered items still in place that had been there for well over a hundred years. Although at first glance they may appear mundane, some of the things we found have survived cholera epidemics, floods, two world wars and even the infamous Sheffield Blitz! Other objects include relics left behind by the trams which once graced the city streets and even long forgotten infrastructure from the earliest days of the telephone.
The 107 page book tells the story of Sheffield through the clues that any reader can still find in the streets today. Our story begins in the early 1800’s, before Sheffield was a city and long before many of the streets and suburbs we know today were constructed. We follow the activities of ‘Sheffield Highways’ in building some of the first properly designed roads in the area. We also look at the problems of disease ridden slums, which began to be tackled by the ‘Local Board of Health’. Both organizations may now be almost forgotten after more than a century and a half, but the work they did is still to be seen in rare surviving ironwork today.
We also look at the ornate designs introduced by the newly formed ‘Sheffield Corporation’, the coming of the electric tramways, early 20th century standardisation and also evidence of the activities of long forgotten private telephone and electricity companies.
Eventually we bring the story up to date, with a selection of the more modern features found in our streets today.
Finally there is the ‘spotters guide’, put together to encourage the reader to go out and search for evidence of industrial history for themselves. We have tried to include an example of every individual design of pavement feature we can find, in the hope that it may help in tracing the historical development of even the most mundane city street.
This book would make an excellent Christmas stocking filler, not only for those interested in the history of Sheffield, but also for anyone anywhere who has the slightest interest in industrial history.
‘Drainspotting: A Guide To The Pavement Features Of Sheffield’ is available to buy now from Lulu.com via the link below.