Commonwealth Walkway Wellington

Although it’s the unexpected flair seen on manhole covers and other kinds of ‘utilitarian’ street furniture that first caught my eye, I’m not immune to the more intentional charms of plaques like this one.

It’s part of the Commonwealth Walkway project, which hopes to get people out walking more by commemorating important sites around Wellington and other cities, installing some plaques, and infusing the whole thing with a spritz of royal patronage. Although I’m generally in favor of this sort of feel-good project , I know that one of the many reasons political life doesn’t appeal to me is the thought of so many such efforts, all needing (and deserving to whatever extent) to be Taken Quite Seriously.

Portals to another world

My early morning walk around BWI yielded a good crop of manhole covers. I still find the variety and longevity of these things a little bit surprising. That Bell System logo hasn’t been used for decades.

Whether made in USA,

… or India,

… or even Wabash Indiana, these cast iron disks do their job year in and year out with very little complaining, and often look good doing it.

Foot fetish

It started out innocently enough with some cool manhole covers. Now it’s become a ReavesCarter-Providence vacation tradition.

Suited to a T

I saw this cover the other day and was puzzled… some kind of Hebrew foundry?

But no…

I still don’t know what foundry this is, but at least I will be able to find it in some directory!


Cast iron and its slightly more modern cousin ductile iron played a really important part in building our urban infrastructure. 

About the only thing wrong with these materials is that if you smack them hard enough they break. 

What phone box???

Just in time for spring and the rose garden down the street to start blooming, the utility box in front of our building got a cool new look. 

Our house is the middle one in the picture, with the low planters in front of the gate. 


I was pretty excited, I imagine more than most people, to come across this manhole cover on Nuffield Street in Newmarket. 

The quote is from Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, which I got to see during my awesome trip to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival as a Pasadena City College student more than 30 years ago. 

Haven’t googled enough yet to know what it means…

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