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A survey of Colchester cast-iron work by E. J. Russell

Editor's note: This article by the late Mr Russell was first published in 1983 in the Colchester Archaeological Group Annual Bulletin (Volume 26, pp 20-2).

There is much cast-iron work to be seen readily in Colchester, not all of it necessarily made there. It is also possible to see examples of work made in Colchester further afield. Between 1978 and 1983 I have recorded and photographed the items listed below. The list is not, of course,comprehensive; it does not include, for example, columns used in shops and industrial buildings. As time goes by these cast-iron records of the past will continue to disappear; meantime if members could tell me of any more items for my records, I should be most grateful.

Street Plate Names These were put up under the Town Clauses Improvement Act 1847. Now only 15 seem to remain. They are:-

Albert Street; Bretts Buildings (Magdalen Street); Beaconsfield Avenue; Charles Street; Cistern Yard (North Hill); Culver Street; Grays Cottages (East Street); Hythe Hill; Myrtle Terrace (Myrtle Grove); New Park Street; North Hill; Queen Street; Roman Road; St Peter's Street; Vineyard Street.

Cast Iron Royal Arms In all 27 have been recorded, all from the same pattern by an unknown, superb carver for Joseph Wallis, of the High Street Foundry, the first foundry in Essex. They are:-
All Saints Church; Christ Church (from St Mary's); Council Chamber; Customs House; Castle Museum (from St Nicholas).
Outside Colchester: Belchamp Otten; Birch; Birdhrook; Bradfield; Boxted (Essex); Dovercourt; Fordham; Great Tey; Godmanchester; Knodishall; Little Bentley; Little Bromley; Llanthony (Gwent); Middleton (Suffolk); Mistley; Mount Bures; Nayland; Rowhedge; Stanmer(Brighton); Stowupland; West Bergholt; Wrabness.

Borough Arms Those on the street furniture of the Colchester Electricity undertaking include feeder pillars which are ornate; they and the fuse boxes which are on posts and walls were cast locally.

A) Feeder pillars: East Wall of Park by Castle Road, Lower Park (by bowling green entrance); Braiswick; North Station roundabout (arms removed); Gladwin Road; Mersea Road (by Bourne Road).
B) Fuse Boxes: Culver Street West (3); Head Street (at Gas Office); The Kings Arms (Crouch Street); Shewell Road; Queen Street; St Botolphs Street; St Johns Street (Liberal Club);footpath at Bourne Mill.

Foliated Tie-plates The oval were made in the High Street Foundry; the earliest date 1809 (North Hill) and the latest 1902 (Evangelical Church in Abbeygate Street).
Square: Opposite Town Hall
Circular: 26, 27 Castle Road (10); St Joohn's Green; 12, Wellesley Road (tarred over);Reeman and Dansie, Headgate; Sir Isaacs Walk.
Oval: 5, North Hill, East Mills; Ryegate Road; Nunns Road; 9, East Stockwell Street; 2, Queen Street; yard of East end of Vineyard Street; Abbeygate Street; Evangelical Church; 48, St. John's Street (Traders); 14, Priory Street; 73/75, Bergholt Road; Tymperleys (rear); Rowhedge River front; 34, Albion Street, Rowhedge; Shelley Church tower; East Bergholt Church tower; Dedham, east end of Main Street; Wivenhoe Dock Co. (Bath Street); Wakes Colne Mill; Bures House, Lexden Road, West Bergholt; Chelsworth, bridge over River Brett.

Short Lamp Standards These are set on gate pillars. They are at: Butt Road, Barrack Gates; Park Road, Education Offices; Welleslev Road(2) and St Peters Church(2) same pattern.

Wall Lamp Brackets The Chapel Street North (old Headgate Church) are the finest. Others are: High Street (Martins); Chapel Street, Eld Lane Baptist Church.

Windows The 10-house terrace in Barrack Street has cast-iron window sills as well as lintels.
Bay supports: 54-56, 64-66 Bergholt Road; 12, Mersea Road; 57, North Hill.
Lintels: Cullingford's High Street; 39, North Station Road; 9-11, Bergholt Road; 39-57, Barrack Street; 51, Bergholt Road.

Bollards They are at:-
Scheregate (Catchpool, Mumford); Cambridge Road/Inglis Road Folley (Mumford); Mill Street/Mersea Road Folley (Mumford); bottom of North Hill(Mumford); Kendall Road (Joslin); Hythe Quay (Mumford); Maidenburgh Street now used in the new work (Joslin and Mumford); not full 360˚.

Ironmongers (not founders) shown on street furniture:-
Bunting and Seabrook; Beard, Blomfield; Evans (High Street); Joslin; Rist; Williams.

Builders' inspection covers These are recorded by rubbings, not photography. The covers seem to be commonest between the two world wars. A retired builders' clerk explained that salesmen for foundries would offer to put the buyers names on covers when the order was for more than about two dozen.

Appleton and Moss; Appleton and Son; G and R Baker; R Beaumont and Son; C M Cadman; W Chambers and Sons; F W Clampin and Sons; A T Clarke; J Collie; Chas. Deaves; W Deaves and Sons; Diss; G Dobson and Sons; F Hutton and Son; Johnson and Son; J H Johnson; F C Macer; W Rogers; John Tovell; J W Trudgett; Vaughan and Sons; Thomas John Ward; Wakelin and Rampling.

Named Lamp Standards Pattern Approximately 601 are still in use:-
Stanford & Co. (223); Mumford (115); Bennell (78); Truslove (54); Brackett (50); Catchpool (22); Schlimper (13); Un-named (46).