Bell for Liam

the last rag and bone man in London

Cast Iron, reclaimed from the streets of London

35 x 24 x 25 cm

This bell is for Liam

Liam is in my opinion 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 friendship by hanging out at the stables and having the off fag. 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’. The circle completed.