Market Lavington Museum

Market Lavington’s street lamps before electricity


Market Lavington was an important little town, serving its own population and folk from surrounding villages. We know that shops stayed open late into the evening on a Saturday and that meant that shoppers would be out in the dark during the winter. Our blog Lighting before electricity reminds us that the village was only connected to an electricity supply in 1926, but we see street lamps on earlier pictures.

There is a single sentence in the Women’s Institute history file which reminds us that a lamplighter was employed to ‘turn on’ these lamps each evening.

So, we know that at least some of the lamps were fuelled by paraffin and, presumably, had a wick as in a household oil lamp.

Market Lavington has no gas supply now, but it did have locally made acetylene gas in the past, made At the Lighthouse, which is what Lavington Gas Works was called.

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This gas was piped round parts of the village until the 1930s, so maybe some of our street lights were gas lamps. We will take a look at some of the outdoor lights captured from old postcard pictures of the High Street and Church Street.

Outside Eldin’s butcher’s shop – 1917
Outside the Workman’s Hall – 1900s
Outside the department store at the crossroads – undated
Church Street, near the crossroads – 1910
Church Street, opposite the Old School – undated
At the corner of Church Street and White Street – 1904
Crossroads – 1930

And, to finish, by 1930, the street was lit by an electric lamp, strung across the road.