SOME people collect stamps or coins while others enjoy flying model aircraft. But Calvin Payne’s hobby is unique.
By: Paul Jeeves
Published: Sat, March 22, 2014
Calvin Payne 42 pursuing his unusual hobby on the streets yesterday Calvin Payne, 42, pursuing his unusual hobby on the streets yesterday [ROSS PARRY]
He claims to be Britain’s first (and probably last) drain spotter.
Bachelor Calvin, 42, spends all his spare time wandering the streets armed with a video camera looking for drains to record.
He has spent six years chronicling all the drains in his home city of Sheffield.
Dubbed the Sherlock of the Sewers, he claims that his hobby is vital to preserving Britain’s Victorian heritage.
He said: “I like doing this because it’s quirky but it’s also important. If these drains were to disappear in a road resurfacing scheme it would be very disappointing. I’m honestly not as boring as a train spotter.”
I know drain spotting sounds like a strange hobby but under our feet there are genuine Victorian artefacts which nobody even notices
Housing authority worker Calvin’s unusual passion was ignited when he noticed three metal grates across a drain embossed with “Sheffield Local Board”.
He tracked down the company and discovered the drain covers were made in 1838 during a cholera outbreak, providing evidence of one of the first modern sanitation systems. He added: “I know drain spotting sounds like a strange hobby but under our feet there are genuine Victorian artefacts which nobody even notices.
“Old post boxes and gas lamps get recognition because they are at eye level. Many of these drains are much older and they are being pulled up and melted down without a second’s thought. There’s nothing to say English Heritage can’t list drains – it’s just nobody’s done it before. I’m compiling evidence of how old they are.”
Once he has completed his dossier Calvin hopes to meet English Heritage to discuss a way of preserving the historic drains