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Keith Bowler's Coal Chute Covers

A Sunday stroll around Spitalfields today and I came across this coal chute cover featuring beer mugs outside the old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane.

Marking the location of coal chutes once used by delivery men to pour coal from the roadside down into the cellars, the metal discs can be found all over the wider Spitalfields area, each with a motif plucked from Spitalfields' history.

The work of Keith Bowler, a local sculptor, the Spitalfields Roundels (about 25 in total) were commissioned by Bethnal Green City Challenge in 1995. About half of the discs have since gone missing, partly thanks to insensitive pavement replacement. Those that remain depict local industries and episodes from history. 

So next time you are in the E1 area, see if you can find the henna hands on Brick Lane, the match girls on Hanbury St or the musical roundel recalling a former Jewish theatre on Princelet Street.

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