Bell for Liam - the last rag and bone man in London.

Cast Iron, reclaimed from the streets of London,

35x 24 x 25cm

2018

 

This bell is for Liam, the last rag and bone man in London. Using his horse and cart he still makes a living from collecting scrap metal from the streets of South London. Once commonly seen, this practice has now totally died out, a small piece of Londons history soon to be forgotten and lost. This trade has always fascinated me as it is what my great grandparents did. Medals they won for their cart horses feature on the bell, alongside a horse shoe from Beauty, Liams horse.

 I eventually gained Liams trust. We started going out together with the aim of collecting enough cast iron so that I could re-cast it into a bell, for his cart. On one trip we found a pile of Victorian cast iron water pipes and these were used to create the bell. It will eventually be mounted on the cart and used to call out for ‘any old iron’. A film will be made about the whole process from collecting the iron, to casting the bell and then using it to ring out and collect more. The circle completed.

 

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