Historic Street Furniture

This section of my website is dedicated to the memory of my good friend Mike Horne, who tragically died far too young on 26th March 2020 following a heart attack.

I helped Mike in a very small way with his quest to seek and record all surviving boundary markers of civil parishes and their successors in London and Middlesex, until the formation of the Great London Council’s 32 new boroughs on 1st April 1965. His website is being maintained.


While on my travels around the capital I photograph street furniture that catches my eye, especially if such items appear to date from pre-GLC (now GLA) local government or pre-privatization public utilities. For example, the covers of manholes, fire hydrants, drains and the like may be mundane but the names of the organizations that may be found on them are a reminder of earlier local councils and companies now long gone. In this section I present a selection of these photographs together with background notes providing historical context.

While such items as signposts and sewer vent pipes tend to ‘stay put’, the nature of pavement covers is that they can, and do, get moved about. I have tried to give the location for each image but already know that one or two have gone. Dates when each photograph was taken are appended to their captions. The photographs are divided into sections for their original providers and many of the artefacts bear their names, or abbreviations of them.

This is a very neglected aspect of the activities of local government and the utilities. Some of the images are of the only example spotted, where others may be quite common within any particular area.

The photographs are catalogued by present London borough, with cumulative alpha-numerical references, though filed by original provider. The Catalogue lists each artefact, with its original provider, location and date of the photograph. If you are interested in a particular defunct local authority or public utility you can go straight to each one from the relevant smaller, provider, button below; each takes you to (mostly) multiple photo sets.

Please remember that all text and images are protected by copyright law.

Last updated: 7th April 2021

Inner London Areas HistoryOuter London Areas HistoryPublic Utilities
Public UtilitiesGovernment DepartmentsGovernment Departments

I am grateful to Science Museum curator emeritus John Liffen for contributing these historical notes and for his overall support and advice during the development and updating of this section of the website.

Local authorities
Acton UDCBarking UDCBarnet UDCBromley TCChingford UDCChingford UDCEaling BCEast Barnet Valley UDCEast Finchley localEast Ham UDCEast Ham CBCEdmonton LBoHEdmonton UDCEdmonton BoroughEnfield Urban DistrictEnfield BCEssex CountyFinchley CPFinchley LBFinchley UDCFinchley BCFriern Barnet UDCHackney BCHammersmith BCHarrow UDCHendon UDCHendon BCHendon BCHornsey LBHornsey UDCHornsey BCIlford UDCIslington St MaryIslington BCKingsbury UDCLeyton BCLCC TramwaysMiddlesex CCPotters Bar UDCRomford UDCRomford BCSt Pancras VestrySt Pancras BoroughSidcup UDCSouthgate LBSouthgate UDCSouthgate BCTottenham UDCTottenham BCWandsworth BCWanstead Woodford BCWembley BCWest Ham CBCWood Green UDCWood Green BCWoodford UDC
Public utilities
County of London & Brush ElectricalFire HydrantsGas Light and CokeGPOLondon Hydraulic Power CompanyMet_DrinkingMet WaterNTCNew_RiverNorth Met ElectricNorth Thames Gas BoardSouth Essex Waterworks BCSouth London Electric SupplyTottenham Gas
Public transport
Central London RailwayCity & South London Railwaygreat eastern railwaygreat western railwayLondon General Omnibus CompanyLondon & North Eastern RailwayLondon TransportLondon Passenger Transport BoardLondon Passenger Transport BoardMetropolitan Electric TramwaysLondon TransportLondon TransportLondon Transport
traffic signs preľ1965
Directional signsWarning signs
Outside London
Government departments
Military Boundary MarkersOrdnance Survey
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