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Historic gas lamps set to shine again thanks to Streets Ahead

27th March 2017

Sheffield will see all of its remaining 25 original gas street lamps brought back to their former glory and in light again as part of the Streets Ahead programme.

The JE Webb Sewer Gas Destructor Lamps are cast iron street lights, erected between 1914 and 1935, and can be seen at various locations across the city. Over the years, many of these historic lamps have succumbed to vandalism, theft and natural ageing and now require vital restoration work to return them to their original state.

Considered to be of special historic interest, twenty of the lamps set to be restored are grade two listed. Four of the lamps still run on gas and special measures have been taken to ensure they continue to do so after the works are completed.

Designed to burn off the dangerous methane and other gasses which accumulated in Victorian sewers, the lamps were located where there was known to be a problem with pockets of gas.

Streets Ahead, working closely with Historic England and Pudsey Diamond, has found a sensitive design solution to retain the lamps’ original features and restore them to their former glory. These historic street lamps will be repainted and powered by specially designed solar power LED lights that closely replicate the original lighting style.

Craig Spafford, Streets Ahead Technical Officer said: “Working closely with Amey, Historic England and Pudsey Diamond we have been able to develop a solution that retains the lamps’ historical features whilst using the latest lighting technology.”

Robin Hughes, a Worrall resident said: “I am absolutely delighted that Sheffield City Council and Amey have agreed on an ingenious plan to restore Sheffield’s internationally-important collection of these rare lamps whilst preserving their original material and unique features.  It’s a superb outcome that has involved meticulous conservation planning.  It is especially good news that four lamps will continue to burn gas, and that others could be restored to gas-burning in the future.”

Mrs Grace Hutty who lives just over the road from the newly restored lamp on Worrall Road said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this restoration work. Before Amey started work on the lamp, it was without a Lantern, and desperately needed some attention. It’s fantastic that these lamps have been renovated in such an expert way and can be enjoyed by residents across the city.”

Cabinet member for Environment at Sheffield City Council, Councillor Bryan Lodge said, “The Streets Ahead contract has enabled us to restore these historical lamps so that the people of Sheffield can continue to enjoy their presence for years to come.

“In their newly refurbished state, the lamps provide a nostalgic reminder of days gone by and remain lasting landmarks of Sheffield’s celebrated heritage.”

Nicola Wray, Listing Adviser at Historic England said: “It’s great news historic gas lamps will shine once again in Sheffield. These lamps are notable survivals of a type of street furniture which were once common, but are increasingly rare. Combining them with sewer vents was an ingenious way of safely disposing of sewer gases which could otherwise lead to explosions.”

The lamp on Worrall Road is one of the first lamps to be refurbished in Sheffield as part of the council’s 25 year Streets Ahead contract being delivered by Amey. The refurbishments are part of the Streets Ahead works, which include upgrading the city’s 68,000 street lights to state-of-the-art energy efficient LED lighting.

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