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

A website about things to do in London

12 October 2009

Find the Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp

It's another piece of London trivia, but Carting Lane, just off the Strand, is - legend has it - home to London’s Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp.


The lamp is a Webb Patent Sewer Gas Lamp, and was invented in the 19th century as a way to draw off smells from underground sewers. It's probably the only of London's remaining gas-powered lamps with operates all the time, day and night.

Over the years, people have hilariously dubbed the lane "Farting Lane" as a result of the lamp's presence and when your author wandered by yesterday at about 3pm the lamp was, sure enough, lit as usual.

Your author understands that the lamp was almost destroyed some time ago by a reversing lorry, but has since been restored and stands proudly beside the Savoy Hotel, which is still undergoing major refurbishments.

For more on gas lighting in London you could try IanVisits or this old post on here.

9 comments:

  1. I've walked down this street many times before and never noticed it has been on all of that time. I just wandered down there for lunch and see it is still glowing - sheer delight, and I can't wait to go that way again with friends to give them this fun fact also.

    thanks.

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  2. I came across this page a few weeks ago when googling Gas Lights in London after noticing that the street lighting around Covent Garden appears to gas (I found it is).

    Today I happened to be in the Strand and noticed the steps down in to Carting Lane and remembered this post. Sure enough, from the steps you can see the lamp down on the right glowing away (it was around 2pm).

    There doesn't seem to be any sign or plaque, so most will pass by without knowing its significance.

    So thank you for this post making my afternoon a little bit more memorable.

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  3. There are at least two operational gas lamps in Warwick St near Regent St.

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  4. I read somewhere (possibly Secret London book) that this lamp is actually only a replica lamp of the sewage lamp, as it was destroyed by a reversing lorry. NOt sure if this is true, but worth pointing out....

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  5. I think that's right, but I believe the restored/replaced lamp is the same and is still powered in the same way.

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    1. I look after over 1300 gas lamps in London for B Gas and one of those is the Joseph Webb Sewer Lamp. You are correct the top has been replaced and still works in exactly the same way as the original.

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  6. Been there lately but saw the lamp's top is no more in place; maybe maintenance works?

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  7. There are loads of these sewer gas lamps still left in Sheffield.

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