Predicting More Cork Heritage To Be Removed
These iron covers on the lower section of St Patrick’s Hill are not manhole covers. They most probably have not been used for very many years. These are remnants of a time past when coal was delivered and the large houses had a coal bunker, generally under the footpath. Coal was delivered into the coal bunker through these coal plates.
Many of the bunkers have been blocked up so most of these coal plates remain as just a visible record off times past. They are non-functioning but is that a reason to strip them out and replace them with the bland palate of our public realm designers?
I do like reminders of past work practices and of how people lived. These coal plates could easily be retained and incorporated into a street design but as it is Cork City Council, I am not hopeful.
Opercula, the plural of Operculum, is the name used for the structure to cover an opening. Christopher Howse on twitter has photographed over a thousand London coal plates – many of which are decorative, as are some in Dublin. A book by Shephard Taylor called Opercula: London Coal Plates was published in 1929.
I have encountered coal plates in Cork on Lover’s Walk, Montenotte Road, Patrick’s Hill, Summerhill, Wellington Road, and Upper John St.. Most are not very decorative.
If this is meant to be the Victorian Quarter, I would have thought that this was an opportunity to incorporate into a tourist trail of how things were done, but I do not hold out much hope.
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“it is not possible to retain the benchmark in its current location; it is to be incorporated into the new public realm enhancements in the vicinity”