street lighting (Early)

street lighting (early)

Gas lighting replaces oil lamps


In 1852 in his Report to the General Board of Health concerning, among other items, Yeovil's street lighting, Thomas Rammell wrote "Up to 1834 the streets of the town were lighted with oil, there being about 120 lamps, at an expense of about £135 a year. Since that time it has been lighted with gas by a Company established in 1833; it is a private Company, neither registered nor incorporated, but acting under a simple deed of co-partnership. Under the powers of the Town Act the rights to lay mains under all the streets has been conceded to this Company by the Commissioners.

The works are situated in the lower part of the town, near the Newton turnpike gate, and close to the (Dodham) brook which constitutes the main outfall for the sewerage of the town. There are two gasometers, holding collectively 34,000 cubic feet, and premises for eleven retorts; ordinarily, of these six are worked in winter and two in summer.

The pipes are laid under every street in the town. The principal main is 6 inches in diameter, and the mains diminish from this size to 2 inches towards the exterior of the town.

There are 123 public lamps lighted for eight months in the year from nightfall till 12 o'clock, and twelve which are kept burning the whole night. During the remaining four months none of the public lamps are lighted.

Mr Hannam states, "In the first instance 90 public lamps were lit by us for £135 at a very great loss. About ten years ago we contracted to light a certain number of lamps for a longer period at, I believe, 55s. a lamp. The present contract was entered into about five years ago, to endure for ten years. The conditions were that the Gas Company should lay down additional mains and put up more lamps, so as to supersede all the oil lamps at a cost to them of about £500, the town paying for 123 lamps lit as above directed at the rate of 47s 6d each, the whole of the cost of repairing mains and lamps, lighting, and extinguishing, being undertaken by the Gas Company."