Iron Inspired


Born in 2007, IRON INSPIRED was created by artist/designer Jason Brooks, who for several years has looked and studied the incredible variety of street furniture known as coalhole and manhole covers, whilst also producing limited edition artwork from them, under the name of Streetware®

Iron Inspired came about after feedback from clients who wanted other applications beyond fine art, and so it was decided by Jason to make these wonderful designs more client focused, with the client making the focus.

A new start is our stylish Perspex based artworks featuring cast ironwork designs from Victorian London and old New York, and combined with our clever bespoke page will enable you to change colours and styles according to your own tastes and interior projects, providing you, your client’s, family or friends, an unusual, interesting, and most admired decorative wall piece.

In the future, Iron Inspired will be looking at other applications for these often overlooked, beautiful and intricate graphic designs created by forgotten artisans all those years ago...

Be inspired, be iron inspired…

For further information concerning commissioned design work, please contact us.
Born in 1973, Jason Brooks is a British artist/designer who has long been fascinated with the wide variety of coal and manhole cover designs since looking down on the ground one day and noticing the year dates on old telephone covers, this interest jogged memories in him of playing marbles over manhole covers as a child.

From there, he began to notice and look at older covers seeing their hidden and often unnoticed beauty, further on he became inspired to make artwork from some of these highly decorative iron masterpieces, and so, from there to here, and to Iron Inspired...
This cast iron lid usually round and from 12-24 inches in size, provided access to the coal cellars of Brownstones and other terraced homes and shops, and used right up until the 1950s. With the increased use of electricity and gas as the new method for heating, the need for domestic coal and combined with clean air laws, coal cellars soon became part of  history.
Some of the early coalhole covers or ‘coalplates’ - a name once used by ironmongers - date from the early 1800s and were all made with cast pig iron and some decorated with ornate details. This decoration not only served to provide grip on pavements/sidewalks but also to advertise the skills and talents of the local ironworks or ironmonger.

Many of these coalplates are fast disappearing, not so much of wear and tear but due to the resurfacing and re-paving of our streets, which is sadly on the increase, and yet they should be preserved as part of our industrial heritage either in situ or in museums.

At this moment in time Jason Brooks and his collection is filling both these voids.
Manhole covers were introduced when our towns and cities engineered their sewers and water systems in the early to mid 19th century, and provided access to the maze of tunnels and service ducts required for the improved sanitation of our expanding urban landscapes.

Other covers came about in the 1880s after new health and safety laws meant that telegraph, telephone and electricity cables had to be installed underground.

Different designs tend to inform their use as well as to provide grip on the street, they are usually made with very heavy cast iron, and come in many shapes, sizes and designs, most are round in shape so when lifted up they can be rolled away from the hole it protects; also so they can't fall down them.
Today millions of them still pepper the towns and cities of our world as the safest, most functional and practical solution to urban health.*
Some of them are not only rare from a historic but also unique from an artistic point of view and must not be lost as a witness of our great industrial past.

*A very small minority of normally larger manhole covers, explode, not due to fast exiting Mutant Ninja Turtles on world saving missions; but equally unsettling, from water and steam pressures underground and sometimes gas ignition. Causing damage and sometimes injury and fatalities. Fortunately, the only explosion you will get with your Iron Inspired design will be in colour and wow factor!