Street Lighting – Gas

Merton Memories photos

Next to milestone, without glass
1950 opposite Kings Head
Causeway
Three gas lamps along Causeway in 1909
Outside Vestry Hall in 1902
1870 from Causeway towards White House

Stories

Saturday 7th September 1889

MITCHAM.

The Lighting Question.

— A public meeting the ratepayers the parish was held the Vestry Hall on Thursday evening for the purpose of considering the expediency of rescinding the following resolution, passed at meeting of the ratepayers of the parish the 29th day of October, 1853 ; “Resolved unanimously that the number inspectors carry into execution the provisions of the Act, third and fourth William IV., cap. 90, in this parish (so far as relates to lighting) be seven,” and of passing resolution enabling the Vestry elect such inspectors with those already in office will make a total number of twelve inspectors of lighting for the parish.

— Dr. J. Ferrier Clarke, Vicars warden, having been voted to the chair, he informed the meeting that solicitors’ and counsel’s opinion had been asked upon the question, and a telegram had just been received to the effect that it was impossible, in consequence of being vacation the Courts, get counsel’s decision until Monday, when the matter could be considered at the adjourned Vestry meeting to be held on that day.

— Mr. Dungate, of the Singlegate Ratepayers’ Association, moved that the business on, and his motion was seconded by Mr. Wortley and carried.

— Messrs. Nobes, John Nicholls, and Dr. Love having spoken against, and Dr. Kemshead, the Rev. Mr. Richman, and others, in favour, it was put to the meeting with the following result: For 31, against 28.

— As the beaten party challenged the figures, it was decided that all ratepayers present should have their names taken down by the chairman, which resulted in the figures being altered to : For 34, against 23.

— It was then proposed by Mr. Wortley and seconded by Mr. Newman that the number increased to 12, and as only six voted against it was carried.

— Mr. Phil. Sampson, senr., as usual, interrupted every speaker who did not agree with him, and the Gas Company whipped up all their officials to oppose the rescinding of the resolution vote thanks to the chairman closed the meeting, which was of a rather lively character.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 07 September 1889 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)


Saturday 10th August 1889

MITCHAM AND THE LIGHTING QUESTION.

PROPOSAL TO LIGHT WITH OIL.

An Adjourned meeting of the Mitcham Ratepayers’ Association was held in the Boys’ School, Lower Mitcham, on Wednesday evening, to again discuss the question of the lighting of the district. Mr. Sandall was voted to the chair, and amongst those present were Messrs. W. Jenner, J. Brown, Wright, G. Bullock, W. Thomas, Dungate, Gardner, Muad, W. Tilley, A. R. Harwood, Wortley, Hill, Langridge, Blackstone, Tomlin, Jordan, W. Barter, and Dr. Kemshead.

The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, explained the objects of the association to those who were not yet members of it, assuring them that by attending Vestry meetings and keeping a watchful eye on those officers who were paid by the ratepayers, their interests were safeguarded and abuses rendered next to impossible. Public officers were likely to become lax in the performance of their duties if such a body as the Ratepayers’ Association were not in existence to watch their movements. Coming to the subject to consider which that meeting was held, he unfolded the plan the sub-committee, previously appointed, had resolved to recommend. At present the parish was lighted by the Gas Company for nine months out of the twelve from sunset to half-past one o’clock in the morning at a charge of £3 per lamp per annum. What the committee suggested was that oil should be adopted instead, when the lamps could be lighted every night all the year round at a charge that would not exceed £2 9s. 6d. per lamp per annum. He pointed out that this estimate was a literal one, and would allow them a fair margin to work upon, as Wimbledon, which had adopted oil lighting, was able to carry it out satisfactorily at an annual cost of £2 6s. 8d. per lamp. The present system of lighting by gas, he said, was a most unsatisfactory one. Reckoning each lamp to burn five cubic feet of gas per hour, and the cost 3s. 10d. per 1,000 feet, he was certain that they were paying the Gas Company more than they ought to. They were therefore justified in the course they proposed to take, and if they were well supported it would probably have the effect of bringing the Gas Company round, and making an offer to light the lamps every night all year round, at £3 per lamp, the old terms. If the ratepayers resolved to adopt oil lighting, it would mean saving to them every year over the price of gas of 10s. 6d. per lamp, and that surely was something worth striving after. (Applause.)

Dr. Kemshead then presented a report on the subject he had been instructed to prepare. He said as at present arranged, with no lamps from May to August, they might take it that if the lamps were lighted for the period ending in May from 8.30 p.m. to 1.30 a.m., and for the period ending December from 3.30 p.m. to 1.30 a.m., the average would be 7 1/2 hours per night ; whilst if they were kept alight every night in the year the average would be nine hours per night. Now, what was the consumption gas? Each lamp consumed five cubic feet of gas per hour, which, calculated at nine hours per night all the year round, would give a consumption of 3,304 cubic feet per lamp per year, which, again, at 3s. 10d. per 1,000 cubic feet, would amount in the year to £824 18s. 8d. or for nine months to £6lB 14s. At 7 1/2 hours per night all the year round the cost would be £687 8s. 7d., and for nine months £464 0s. 6d. Thus while the Gas Company at present lighted the lamps for an average of 7 1/2 hours per night for nine months and charged £804 12s., while gas consumed at their own price cost £6l8 14s., they evidently charged a good deal more than they had a right to. The cost of oil-lighting he estimated as follows:- Oil, per year, £351; labour of five men in the lighting, extinguishing, and cleaning of the lamps 30s. per week each, wicks, breakages, and sundries, £34; total, £645. This gave cost of £2 9s. 5d. per lamp per year, and this showed annual saving, compared with gas, of £167 14s. Along with this saving there would light all the year round from sunset to sunrise. Dr Kemshead suggested that the Gas Company should again be communicated with, and another meeting of the ratepayers held before the August Vestry meeting, to decide upon their final course of action. He believed if the company were properly approached they would not object to a compromise.

Mr. Wortley next addressed the meeting. He contended that the oil lamps the association had on view gave a much better light than gas, and could see no feasible reason why oil should not be adopted for future lighting purposes.

Mr. Dungate pointed out that better gas was made in the Workhouse at 1s. 6d. per 1,000, and 3s. 10d. per 1,000 charged by the Gas Company was exorbitant. He believed that the Lighting Inspectors would not move without pressure from the ratepayers through the Ratepayers’ Association, many of the ratepayers being afraid of them. He held that if once they resolved to have oil they would never again resort to gas, but before they did anything he was of the opinion that it would be wise to again approach the Gas Company. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. Tomlin then moved the following resolution:- “That the secretaries of the two Ratepayers’ Associations be instructed to write to the directors of the Gas Company asking if the company is prepared light all the street lamps from sunset to sunrise all the year round for per lamp per annum.’’ Mr. Tomlin remarked that they did not wish to do the company any harm, but they were determined to have value for their money. (Applause.)

Mr. Thomas seconded the resolution, which was then adopted unanimously. The following resolution was also unanimously adopted on the proposition of Mr. Dungate, seconded by Mr. Wortley:- “That no person be voted for at the coming election of inspectors unless such person pledges himself to obtain considerable reduction in the price of gas, or failing that to consent to light the parish with oil.””

Tbe Chairman urged upon those present not to forget to attend the next Vestry meeting, and to do their best place the question of oil-lighting before tbeir fellow-ratepayers. After some further discussion, a vote of thanks was accorded to the chairman, and the proceedings concluded.

Source: from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)


Two advertisements requesting tenders for 50 iron lamp posts and a supply of gas. From the South Eastern Gazette 8th November 1853

CONTRACT for the SUPPLY of FIFTY IRON LAMP POSTS, with lamps and fittings complete for lighting the same with Gas, for the parish of Mitcham, at per post, etc., including the fixing in such parts of the parish as may be determined by the inspectors.
Persons desirous of contracting for the above are requested to send in their tenders to the Buck’s Head Inn, Mitcham, on or before the 22nd November instant, directed to the Secretary to the Inspectors. The Board will not pledge themselves to accept the lowest or any tender.
By order of the Board,
FRANCIS NEWMAN,
Secretary.
Nov, 4th, 1853.

CONTRACT for the SUPPLY of GAS in the Public Lamps of the parish of Mitcham, at per 1000 feet. Persons willing to undertake the above contract, during the winter months, are requested to send in their tenders to the Buck’s Head Inn, Mitcham, on or before the 22nd November instant, directed to the Secretary to the Inspectors. The Board will not pledge themselves to accept the lowest or any tender.
By order of the Board,
FRANCIS NEWMAN, Secretary.
Nov. 4th, 1853.


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