After the Whitley Pump reported the LED street lighting project we noticed there was a campaign by the Bell Tower Community Association to save cast iron street lamps in their area that are threatened with replacement.
Although most of the lamp posts that the Bell Tower group hope to save were made by foundries off Caversham Road, there is one example that was made by The Reading Iron Works Limited on Katesgrove Lane.
The oldest lamp posts have a fluted pattern and were manufactured around 1900 (as pictured behind the Bell Tower group below). We have not tracked down any old really old ones around Katesgrove yet, but there are some interesting swan neck lamp posts from the middle of the twentieth century in the area which it would be a shame to lose (pictured above).
If you know of any cast iron columns that should be preserved then please let your councillors know.
Neighbours campaign to save old street lights
By David Neale.
A community in central Reading is urging the council to keep the cast iron lighting columns in its area, as the LED street lighting replacement programme sweeps across the town. The lights in The Bell Tower Community Association‘s area, off Caversham Road, are all due to be converted to LED technology in June 2017.
There are more than 20 cast iron lamp posts in the area, most of which are original Victorian gas lighting columns.
Bell Tower secretary David Neale, who has been researching the history of the lighting columns, said: “As well as being attractive, the old cast iron lighting columns are also a valuable part of our heritage, and many of them have an additional local connection, having been manufactured by foundries off Caversham Road. The area consists mostly of Victorian terraces, and has one of the largest clusters of original lamp posts in Reading. It would be a great shame to lose them.”
The association believes that the columns can be refurbished economically and fitted with new LED lights, and is happy to offer to paint them to keep them in good condition.
Mr Neale added: “We think the parts to refurbish an old street light will be cheaper than installing a new column, and they are likely to last longer. We hope the council can preserve them, and that the old lighting columns in other areas of Reading will be saved too.”
This article was originally published by the Reading Neighbourhood Network.
- Reading Neighbourhood Network
- Neighbours campaign to save old street lights
- Berkshire Industrial Archaeology Group – Map of Industrial Reading