Anthony Gormley Manhole Cover Stolen

After 10 happy years in Peckham, Anthony Gormley’s rippled manhole cover has been stolen after gleaning attention on the internet.

December 5, 2013
by Robert Hugill
Anthony Gormley's manhole cover
Anthony Gormley's manhole cover

A swirly manhole cover designed by Antony Gormley has been stolen from a street in Peckham in South London. The cover had been in place for around 10 years, but was recently featured on blog Within days of the post, the cover had disappeared.

Whilst Thames Water has replaced it with a standard manhole cover, they have said that they are determined to locate the stolen object.

Gormley’s cover was in Maxted Road, part of Southwark Council’s Bellenden Renewal Area centred on Bellenden Road between Peckham Rye and East Dulwich stations. In 1997 the area received a cash injection that saw local artists such as Gormley, Tom Philips and Zandra Rhodes produce creative bollards, lampposts and paving.

The manhole cover design was a prototype for a series of manhole covers commissioned by Thames Water for the Thames valley, but the project never went ahead. The rippling design is based on a cast of Gormely’s feet, whilst Maxted Road is near the artist’s old studio.

In an audio guide, Gormley says of his design: “You’re invited to go stand it on it and feel yourself suspended, as it were, between the great infinity of the blue dome of the sky and this river of human ordure that is flowing beneath your feet.”

The guide was created for the Artists Museum, a project which imagines London as the most exquisite museum collection in the world, where artists are asked to select five of their favorite objects. The manhole cover was one of Gormley’s selections.