Monday, March 2, 2009

Base Metal

This plumbing detail, from Herbert Park in Ballsbridge, jumped out at me - probably because the lake had been drained and the edges became more obvious. When I looked at the image, I couldn't help wondering what had become of Guest and Chrimes of Rotherham! Well, I did find out something. Apparently, James Payne owned a small factory in Rotherham. He and Peter G Chrimes, a plumber in the town, patented an improvement in taps and founded a firm to make them. Later in 1875, son Richard Chrimes formed a partnership with John Guest to make a range of products for the expanding water industry. Judging by its age, one of their products clearly made its way to Herbert Park for the Great Trade Exhibition in 1907. Symbolising hardness and durability, iron is a base metal, not always favourably regarded. According to Plato, those from the underworld eschewed iron in favour of wooden spears, an aversion they shared with the druids, who preferred golden sickles with mistletoe. But in this case, Guest and Chrimes did well and their product was durable enough for me to take a photograph in 2009. Maybe that's all we can ask of ourselves - that we are durable enough!