Tag Archives: gas lighting

Robin Ltd., Incandescent Gas Mantle Makers, Lonesome

1910 OS Map

1910 OS Map

The company experienced a boom in its business of making and selling incandescent gas mantles during World War 1. Gas mantles, the part of a gas lamp that glows, were made from Thorium, which was extracted from sands mined in Brazil. Before the war, Germany was the only country that produced Thorium from these sands, as pointed out in a letter to the Daily Express. With the war, imports from Germany ceased, and Thorium had to be bought from the US.

Robin Ltd. stated in a military service tribunal of 11th August 1916 that:

owing to the import of German mantles being stopped since the war their business had increased enormously, and they now employed 500 hands.

The factory was bought by Beck & Co. Ltd. of Southwark in 1939. They used part of the factory for production of water meters, petrol pumps and steam valves. Source: Mitcham Borough Council minutes, page 476, volume 5.

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

1932 Lighting of Colliers Wood High Street

In 1932, Colliers wood was part of the Mitcham Urban District.

1934 OS Map - the boundary with Wandsworth Borough was just north of the bridge over the railway line, south of the junction with Blackshaw Road and Longley Road

1934 OS Map – the boundary with Wandsworth Borough was just north of the bridge over the railway line, south of the junction with Blackshaw Road and Longley Road

The council’s surveyor reported that the Gas Company’s chief engineer proposed using reflectors to increase the light from the ‘Windsor’ gas lamps in use, and that Windmill Road was to be used for a test. This road, across Mitcham Common, had no housing and without any lighting nearby would be a good way of assessing the effectiveness of this proposal.

For more on the Windsor type of gas lamps, see the William Sugg & Co. History website.

From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council
Volume XVII 1931 to 1932
Highways Committee
4th February, 1932
Pages 647 to 648

STREET LIGHTING, WINDMILL ROAD

The Chief Engineer to the Gas Company has now evolved a system of reflectors suitable to Windsor type lanterns, and is willing to demonstrate them free of charge in Windmill Road, and I have given him authority to carry out this improvement on the understanding that should they not prove satisfactory there will be no charge. The reflectors have now been fixed in position, but I have not yet had an opportunity of inspecting them at night, and will make a further report to the Committee next month.

The cost of fitting these reflectors on the six lamps is 24s., and the cost of conversion to double burners 12s., with an extra maintenance cost of £10 2s.

HIGH STREET, COLLIER’S WOOD.

The length of High Street, Collier’s Wood, is 970 yards, and is lighted by means of three-burner Windsor type lamps, eight of which are on the west side and twelve on the east side. The maximum distance apart is between the lamp at the corner of Cavendish Road to that opposite North Gardens, a distance of 80 yards; whilst the
minimum distance is 30 yards, this being the distance between the same lamp at the corner of Cavendish Road and that at the corner of Byegrove Road.

The length of the road in the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth, immediately adjoining the district boundary, is lighted by means of six-burner lamps fitted with reflectors, and is very well illuminated at this point, due, firstly, to the extra lamps being installed on the tramway refuge by Longley Road, and, secondly, to the close spacing and high power of the lamps, the maximum distance apart being 38 yards. In a length of 125 yards from the district boundary, there are 7 six-burner lamps. I suggest that alterations take place on the Mitcham side in order to tone the lighting down gradually. I propose that the second lamp be resited and converted to six-burner at a distance of 50 yards from the first lamp in Wandsworth, and the remaining lighting on the bridge approach would then be adequate.

In my previous report I proposed that a three-burner lamp be fixed to replace an obsolete type lamp opposite No. 216, and on further inspection, late one Sunday night, I suggest two additional lamps be erected, one midway between North Gardens and Cavendish Road, and one between College and University Roads on the east side. When these lamps are fixed I think the road will be reasonably well lighted.

I have prepared a plan and estimate of the cost of lighting the road in the same manner as the recently relighted Tooting High Street, where each lamp is fitted with six burners at a maximum distance apart of 50 yards. The capital cost of this scheme would amount to £230 and the extra annual maintenance cost would be £150. I cannot see that this expenditure is justifiable in any way.

If the reflectors on the lamps in Windmill Road prove satisfactory they could be fixed with advantage to the lamps in High Street, Collier’s Wood.

Yours obediently,
RILEY SCHOFIELD, Assoc. M.Inst.C.E.,
engineer and Surveyor.

Resolved

(d) Lighting of Windmill Road. – That the Committee consider this question at the next meeting, when an opportunity has been given to the members to observe the effect of the new system of reflectors.

(e) Lighting, Collier’s Wood. – That the Surveyor be authorised to replace the obsolete type of lamp opposite No. 216 with a new three-burner lamp, and that two additional lamps suggested by the Surveyor be also provided, and that if the reflectors prove satisfactory in Windmill Road this system is adopted in High Street, Collier’s wood.


Inflation adjusted costs:

1932 2016
12s. £37
24s. £74
£10 2s. £620
£150 £9,200
£230 £14,000

Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Urban District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

Lighting Tramway Path

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 11
April 1913 to March 1914
Report of the Lighting Committee
28th October, 1913
page 106

Report of Sub-Committee appointed to inspect Gorringe Park Avenue and Tramway Path, with a view of ascertaining whether or not additional lamps are required thereat.

Present – Messrs. A. Dendy and J. Snelling.

Gorringe Park Avenue –

Your Sub Committee are of the opinion after careful inspection and consideration, that the question of increased lighting in Gorringe Park Avenue should be deferred until the Church now in course of erection is completed and the road made up.

Tramway Path –

This path, from Mitcham Park to the Double Bridges, is about 650 yards in length, the nearest Gas Main is at the Mitcham Park end of the footpath, and to light this footpath effectually, at least six lamps would be necessary; and it is doubtful if the Gas Company could be induced to lay the necessary main even if this number of lamps were erected. There is only one house on the route to take the gas if the Council were to light the path. There are many others throughout the Parish of a similar description which would have to be lighted, and your Sub-Committee there do not recommend that any lamps be erected.

The Committee having considered the Report beg to recommend –

That one additional lamp be erected in Gorringe Park Avenue, and that Messrs. J. M. Leather and J. Brewer be appointed to select the most desirable position for its erection.


From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council
Volume 11
April 1913 to March 1914

Report of the Lighting Committee
meeting held on November 24th, 1914.
pages 110-111

The following letter was read from the Gas Company quoting terms for laying the necessary main and service pipes for lighting three lamps in Tramway Park.

                                   Wandsworth Wimbledon and Epsom 
                                              District Gas Company.
                                                    Fairfield Street, 
                                                         Wandsworth,
                                   Tuesday, 17th November, 1914.


Dear Sir, 

                      Tramway Path, Mitcham.

With further reference to your letter of the 30th October, addressed to Mr C. W. Braine, this matter has had the consideration of my board, and I have to say this company will be pleased to lay the necessary level of Gas Main (200 yards 4 inches) and the Service Pipe (1,000 yards, 1 and a half inches diameter) to give an adequate supply of gas for three public lamps in Tramway Path, vision, and the annual charge per lamp, per annum, for No.s 2, 3 or 4 “Kern” lamps would be, respectively, as follows: –

No. 2 “Kern” … £14 11s. 0d
No. 3 “Kern” … £14 6s. 9d
No. 4 “Kern” … £15 9s. 0d

These prices would be for Gas and Maintenance, and they are based on the assumption that your Council would accept the terms for a minimum period of five years, after which time we would be pleased to further consider the matter.

I shall be glad to hear from you with reference to this matter.

I may add that we have ascertained that at present there is very little prospect of further houses being erected in the vicinity of the house already built and the occupier of which would be willing to use Gas.

                             Yours faithfully,
                                         (Signed) H.O. CARR,
                                                  Engineer.

The Committee make no recommendations, as they consider the terms prohibitive.

1910 OS Map showing Tramway Path


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Parish Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

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.