No Hot Ashes and the Wheelie Bins

“No!” said Mrs Irvine as her middle son told her the name of his new rock band. “You should keep the ‘No’. Just think of all the free publicity you’ll get!”

And so it came to pass that instead of being called ‘Hot Ashes’, the Irish 80’s rock legends sprang onto the Belfast pubs and clubs billed as No Hot Ashes.

“The name came about from speaking to one of my mates, Keith Boyd,” said guitarist and founding member Davey Irvine. “The first version of the band had been jamming for a few months at the time, with no name, but with our first gig on the horizon I was speaking to Keith about it and he said we should call the band “Hot Ashes” because we were looking at one of the new plastic ‘wheelie’ bins at the time, which had bright orange stickers with ‘No Hot Ashes’ stuck on them.”

“This was early 1980’s and I thought ‘Hot Ashes’ was quite a good name for a rock band. When I got back home my mum was asking how preparations were going for the ‘concert’. I told her we had at last a possible name for the band. She suggested we keep the ‘No’ and so we did… And then so did loads of other bands over the years!”

No Hot Ashes (Davey Irvine second left)

No Hot Ashes (Davey Irvine second left)

Wheels of Plastic

These ‘wheelie bins’ were a new introduction to the 80’s street scene with them replacing the back breaking metal bins that refuse men, or bin men. as they were once known, had to carry to the dust cart.

Before the wheelie bin, collections were made from the back door, making life even harder for those whose job was to remove the nation’s waste.

The introduction of wheels meant that life became much easier as householders around the country now had to make the solemn journey from back door to pavement, wheeling their bin behind them. In all weathers and mainly the night before there were echoes of wheels on concrete rumbling and reverberating around suburbia.

This led to a weekly, or even fortnightly, row of grey (some countiers are green) plastic sentries lining the street, which for some was a blight on the neighbourhood, but a delight for the newly named refuse collectors.

All they had to do was move the bin to the truck and that would lift the bin up, dumping its contents into the back.

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

For some reason that seems to escape this blog, people would place the ashes from their fires into the old metal bins. Presumably hoping that this would cause a mini fire to ensue and more waste could be added to the bin at a later time.

Now that the world had gone ‘modern’ with public propelled plastic bins, this meant that anything hot was not recommended and so every wheelie bin would have emblazoned across it ‘No Hot Ashes’.

You could say it was right time, right place for No Hot Ashes, to be the first of many bands to pick this warning as their moniker.

Does your wheelie bin still say No Hot Ashes? We’d love to see a photo. Why not post it on our Facebook page?

The People Behind the Bins

Almost every source on the web puts the invention of the wheelie bin down to Frank Rotherham Mouldings, who were asked in 1968 to create a wheeled bin by a Slough based company.

One side effect of the introduction of these easy use devices was the demise of the donkey jacket, the lined shoulder garb of the metal bin whealding bin men.

Another side effect was the opportunity for some to offer a wheelie bin cleaning service, especially for areas that have a fortnightly collection.

If you have never lifted a wheelie bin lid after thirteen days in the hot sun, then don’t! Not only does it stink but, in a healthy meat eating house, you’ll find the maggots will be breeding.

But it is not all doom and gloom. Here is an innovative use of the wheelie bin that our drummer Steve Strange might be seen introducing one day into his repertoire of objects to pound..

This novelty percussion ensemble has been written for Wheelie Bins by composer Dirkjan van Groningen and published at Show & Marching Music.


History of Wheelie Bins – From Prehistoric Times to Today