“Street furniture research—don’t read unless you’re crazy about bollards!”

Wondering through Brick Lane and looking for “hidden” and “ignored” objects (part of my new brief) of this well-known and sought-after, I couldn’t help but notice the litter and general run-down state of this street.

Taking random photos of things that took my interest, but purposefully ignoring  all of the art, I seemed to focus mainly on what I later learnt is called the “street furniture”—bollards, electrical cable boxes, bike rails, sign posts, and other “metallic objects sticking out of the ground”. Following this realization (and tutor’s feedback and advice), I did some search on our library and brought home two (very boring) books about street furniture. At this point, I think that I may narrow my focus on bollards specifically, as there were at least six different types of them on the Brick Lane alone, and I don’t want to be too broad.

Here are all the different bollards that I found directly on Brick Lane (no treatment, straight from the camera):

Here you can see some scans from the books:

I’ve learnt that bollards can be made from cast iron, wood, or concrete. They’ve been used from 17th century onwards for various purposes—keeping the cars out of pedestrian areas, protecting buildings from damage caused by the carriages, as hitching posts for horses, etc. The earliest ones have been made from the cannon muzzles, with the ends filled up with iron domes—we can still see these today.

Well, here is bit of history about something we see every day. Not terribly exciting research, at least not to me, but still part of the process…

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