The Drain Cover Mystery!

A reader has spotted several drain and meter covers in Sawley manufactured by S J Claye Ltd of Long Eaton.

Samuel John Claye opened a factory in Long Eaton in 1850.  The site, between Huss’s Lane and Main Street had been the Manor House farm and the main site continued to be known as Manorhouse Works. It was well known for producing railway wagons for the Midland Railway.  Many men from Sawley were employed at the works.

Claye was sued for bankruptcy 1882 but carried on business until his death in 1887.  He had himself a large house built on the other side of Main Street.  The house ‘Belfield’ became Southlands Old People’s Home.  It was demolished in 2022.

The wagon works carried on as a limited company, but gradually fell into decline and the company was sold in 1937.  Most of the buildings were demolished in the 1960s.  The main site is now the Tapper’s Harker pub.

The meter cover in Sawley is also marked LEUDC, so was presumably installed after LEUDC took over Old Sawley in 1934.  But we thought Clayes only made railway wagons.  Does anyone know more about other items made by Clayes?

And another question – although Sawley roads are now all tarmacked, the gutters tend to be cobbles (setts) or a combination of setts and concrete.  Does anyone know how this came about? 

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