One of the many ways I used to embarrass my children when they were young was to stop and look at manhole and drain covers. Well not just manhole covers, I’ve always been fascinated with any sort of street furniture but cast iron covers are my favourite. I bought an album once solely because the band were named after a drain cover, Stanton Warriors. The Stanton Company make drain covers, older models had wonderful names, Chieftain, Trojan, Challenger, Centurion and of course the Stanton Warrior.
My favourite covers are those made in local foundries. They are small items of unrecorded history, the foundries that manufactured them are rarely still in business. I came across this one the other day, surprisingly the foundry that cast it still exists.
I’m not sure when the foundry started but it appears on the 1913 OS six inch map as the Zetland Foundry. The wonderful East Cleveland Image Archive states that the foundry was originally owned by the Robinson Brothers, it was then taken over by Tinsley and sons and is currently owned by Brough and Horner.
I visited the foundry once to collect a steel beam when I was working as a builders labourer. The job was to convert a house into a bookmakers shop and flat on Skelton High Street. Mr Brough, the foundry owner was also a local Bookie with a number of shops in East Cleveland. I was a terrible labourer and was sacked after a couple of weeks, no great loss to the building trade.