Gas lamps have long been a tradition in UK society. Here are some interesting facts about gas lamps that you might not have known!
- There are still 1500 gas lamps in London. They don’t need lighting every night, but the timer that lights them automatically needs adjusting every fortnight to keep pace with shorter or longer days.
- Before timers, lamps were lit with an 8ft long brass pole with a pilot light – last used around Temple 1976.
- Gas lighting first appeared in Pall Mall in 1812, thanks to Frederick Winsor – originally with wooden gas pipes. This unfortunately resulted in a lot of explosions and a few deaths.
- The oldest lamps near Carlton House Terrace have George IV’s initials on them.
- Westminster Abbey cloisters are lit by gas. The oldest lamp is in Dean’s Yard, near the group entrance, fixed to the wall. This has been there for 200 years as a gas lamp, and before that as an oil lamp.
- The Mall has electric lights on the park side and gas on the St. James’s Palace side – the original road.
- Near the Queen Mother statue which was dedicated in 2009, there are modern gas lamps as the Royal family refused to have electric ones – “the Royal family is very pro gas”.
- British Gas gets several months’ warning of State Visits, as lamps around Buckingham Palace are altered to be on 24 hours a day during the visit.