Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

19 May 2009

Wander the streets by gas light

It sounds odd, but there are still more than 2,000 gas-powered street lights in London, silently flickering away offering added atmosphere in a huge gas-lit areas covering The Royal Parks, Covent Garden, Mayfair, and the outside of Buckingham Palace.


Pall Mall was the first street to be gas-lit, in 1807, and in 1812 the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company was formed as the world's first gas company to manage the lights.

So search them out today. The (probably hugely inefficient) lights are identifiable by their glimmering filaments and their dim lights.

Oh, and if you're interested, you can read the 1819 Parliamentary debate on the introduction of gas lights (where some Luddites were against it) here.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of James Cridland^

5 comments:

  1. Surely, the lamps now have bulbs in them?? No? I'm surprised

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  2. Does anyone know where you can buy the glass from? We have one of these lamps (converted to elctric) in our front garden - so it serves partly as a street lamp. However someone used it for target practice so I now need to replace two of the 'conical' glass panels.

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  3. Hi all,

    I repair gas lamp timers; see the clock in the lamp above used to switch the gas on and off each day?

    The clock is the round object inside the glass housing near the bottom where it narrows down.

    It is a Horstmann Newbridge Automatic Gas Controller Clock...

    http://all-round-controls.co.uk

    http://mark-lawton.com/horstmann-newbridge/

    Thank you,

    Mark Lawton

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  4. hi mark are you contactable? please contact me at domenic.benson@gmail.com
    would be interested in hearing more about gas lamplighting

    best wishes

    ReplyDelete