It is illegal to download any image from 'Hove in the Past' for your own website or for publication without the permission of the copyright owner.

12 January 2016

Brighton, Hove and Portslade's Street Lights

Judy Middleton (1982 revised 2012)

copyright © J.Middleton
The Palace Pier, Brighton, with electric standard light in the foreground in the 1900s

CANDLES AND OIL LAMPS

The 19th century brought about a huge change in the provision of artificial lighting at Brighton as elsewhere. Before gas and much later electricity became available, Brighton at night must have been a dim place indeed. Rush-lights, tallow candles or oil lamps were the order of the day in humble homes; wax candles were luxury items for the gentry and wealthy people or for use in churches. It is possible the Brighton fishing families could have made use of readily available fish oil for their lamps.

Rush-lights provided the most economical form of lighting and were used throughout Sussex. Gilbert White reckoned that a pound of rush-lights dipped in fat would provide around 800 hours of light for three shillings. Tallow candles were everyday items too and they were often made at home out of rendered animal fat. A Sussex parson remembered them in use in the 19th century and although to us a tallow candle sounds romantic, in reality it had a most unpleasant aroma. When it was blown out the ‘smell was particularly disagreeable if no snuffers were used …(and) the wick would smoulder for one or two minutes, emitting a thick black smoke’.

Further up the social scale, wax candles gave a pleasant light but they were expensive. In around 1778 wax candles were in use at the theatre in North Street, Brighton. The manager was proud to announce this fact and also that the establishment had the best spermaceti ones. Spermaceti is the name given to the oily substance found in the head of a sperm whale and the growth of the whaling industry in the 18th century made this new product available.

Streets were lit by oil lamps but only at certain times of year. The season for this convenience began at the end of July and lasted until the beginning of February. But on nights when a full moon was supposed to be visible, they were not lit. There were 150 lamps at Brighton each containing two wicks. A contractor assumed responsibility for keeping them in working order, supplying the oil and extinguishing the lights at 3am. Richard Knighton fulfilled this role for many years and in 1794 he received £30 a year for his trouble. By 1807 the number of lamps had risen to 230 and the Commissioners decided to take over the management of them. However, they found the task not without its difficulties – for example several lamps were stolen – and by 1814 the Commissioners were happy to revert to employing a contractor. For a fixed annual sum, he would be responsible for all the lamps and this included breakages.

GAS LIGHTING

copyright © J. Middleton.
Pedestal lamp at
entrance to
Chain Pier
Esplanade
1823
In 1816 the idea of gas lighting was first raised at Brighton. By 1818 the Commissioners had given permission for pipes to be laid and the Brighton Gas Light & Coke Company was formed the same year. It was this company that built the gasworks at Black Rock in 1818-1819. The implementation of gas lighting was not all plain sailing. For a start there was widespread prejudice against it not to mention a lively fear of possible explosions; it was also much more expensive. For example, the old street oil lamps cost £500 to run whereas an estimate for keeping the gas lamps running came to £1,600.

There was also the matter of where to site the gasometer as naturally enough nobody wished to have it near their property. On the other hand, the further away the gasometer was from the centre of population, the greater the expense of laying the mains. By constructing the gasworks at Black Rock the company killed two birds with one stone. It was not too far distant but it was outside Brighton’s boundary, which meant the company escaped having to pay the dues levied on all coal transported into the town.

The Brighton Gas Light & Coke Company thought of an enterprising way of overcoming public distrust. This was to install a design that incorporated the Prince of Wales feathers picked out in gaslights over a shoemaker’s shop in East Street. It must have caused quite a stir when viewed at night. It was also by way of being a compliment to the town’s most eminent visitor – the Prince Regent. He had shown an early interest in using gas to light the Royal Pavilion and intended eventually to light the whole complex by this method. The first part to be completed was the magnificent Banqueting Room, which was illuminated by gas for the first time of 9th December 1821. (The Royal Pavilion is covered in a later chapter).
copyright © J. Middleton.
A lamp standard dating back to the reign of William IV

The old gas lamp standards in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion have been preserved to the present day. However, they do not date back to the Prince Regent’s time as their bases are embossed with a crown above ‘IV’ and ‘WR’ and William IV reigned from 1830 to 1837.

The Chain Pier was officially opened on 27th November 1823 and in the evening the handsome lamps at the entrance to the esplanade were lit by gas for the first time.

A few months later Mr Trevett began work installing 17 gas lamps around the Steine. On 20th April 1824 one of them was tried out and gave a very brilliant light. The whole series of lamps were alight by 3rd May 1824 and the effect was said to be truly brilliant. The Brighton Gazette expressed the pious wish ‘we do hope that but a short time will now be suffered to elapse before the whole town is lighted in a similar manner’. Bedford Square was not far behind because it was recorded in January 1824 that mains were being laid for that location.

It has been stated in recent times that Brighton was one of the first towns in England to have gas street lighting. However, it appears that the Brighton Commissioners would not agree with this statement. One of their chief arguments in favour of gas was that other towns, which were not in such a flourishing state as Brighton, had already taken the plunge. In their view Brighton was not far enough ahead in this field.
copyright © J. Middleton.
Meeting House Lane

The first place in the country to have gas street lighting was Pall Mall in 1807. Other comparisons were: Westminster Bridge 1813; Dublin 1818; Paris 1919; Brighton 1824; Wigan 1832; Sydney, Australia 1841.

In 1825 the Brighton Town Act was passed and one of its stipulations was that gas pipes should be laid four feet away from any existing water pipes. Meanwhile the number of gas lamps continued to increase. In 1827 enquiries were received about lighting Kemp Town and the Commissioners agreed to provide 36 lamps with another six along Marine Parade.

The coming of the London to Brighton railway in 1841 brought an increased demand for gas when it was decided to light the railway station by this method. The Brighton Gazette stated ‘gas fittings for the whole terminus have been put up by the Brighton & Hove General Gas Company; and the meters which have been fixed are capable of furnishing 360 burners, of which 200 will be supplied by one meter, and 80 by each of the other two. The station was lighted up on Monday evening for the first time, and formed a most imposing object, being from its elevated situation visible in various parts of the town’.

In 1853 there were 947 gas lamps in Brighton streets and in 1854 the sum spent on lighting came to £3,001-5-2d.

copyright © J. Middleton.
Round base
gas lamp
North Street
c1869
There was no problem in being connected with a gas main if you lived in central Brighton but if you were located on the outskirts of town, it was a different matter. For instance, gas mains were not laid to Preston until 1859. Dyke Road was also considered rather out of the way. Robert Horne Penney lived at Highcroft, Dyke Road, a property surrounded by five acres of land. Penney was by far the largest ship-owner in the area. He could afford to make a special arrangement to have a gas main laid along Dyke Road so that his residence could be supplied with gas. In October 1877 he wrote to the Lighting Committee requesting them to erect lamps along the road as far as his house – after all the gas main was already laid on. But the Committee refused – they obviously thought it was not worth the extra expense.

Gas pressure was also a problem with outlying areas. Preston was particularly badly affected by low gas pressure, which must have been doubly annoying since they paid more for their gas than other Brightonians. In 1878 it was stated that that Preston inhabitants paid 4/- per 1,000 cubic feet and it was agreed that the charge should be reduced to 3/6d. It was the Black Rock gasworks that had difficulty in maintaining the correct pressure to Preston. Houses in other parts of Brighton that received their gas from the Hove gasworks next to St Andrew’s Old Church, did not experience the same problem.

The Lighting Committee wanted to fix a minimum pressure of 8/10 an inch but both companies declined to accept this and opted for the lower figure of 6/10 an inch. In December 1878 the Lighting Committee received a petition signed by 49 disgruntled Preston residents complaining about the continuing low pressure. In reply Mr J Rutter, general manager of the Brighton Gas Company, revealed that a new gas main was to be laid in the early months of 1879. Meanwhile the Lighting Committee resolved to purchase a graphic pressure gauge and install it at Preston Police Station.

copyright © J. Middleton.
Three branched
gas lamp standard
Old Steine
c1870
Mr Edward H Moore, public analyst, kept an eye on the components present in gas and reported his findings at every meeting of the Lighting Committee. For instance, in January 1877 he stated the ‘sulphide impurities are moderate’ as Black Rock gas contained 17 grains per 100 cubic feet while Hove gas had 19 grains. If the impurities rose above 20, the fact was reported back to the two managers. Mr JB Patton, general manager of the Hove company, wrote to the Committee ‘with regard to sulphur impurity, other than sulphuretted (sic) hydrogen. The presence of this impurity is absolutely unavoidable but it is fortunately unimportant’.

Sometimes a private individual helped along the spread of gas street lighting. In November 1883 Charles Catt (no doubt a member of the well-known brewing firm of Vallance & Catt) asked that lamps should be erected in St Martin’s Street, Brewer Street and Trinity Street and he offered to pay the cost of gas consumed until the Corporation took over management.

The light given out by early gas lamps should not be over estimated, although of course they must have been brighter than the old oil lamps. The first gas burners were merely iron tubes with holes. The most common form was the Fishtail, so named because the shape of the flame resembled a fish’s tale. If the holes were spaced further apart, the broader flame characterised a Batswing type. The lighting effect was easily impaired by metal corroding and obstructing the holes.

copyright © J. Middleton.
Ornamental bracket
gas lantern
Black Lion Street 1883
The gas companies were responsible for keeping the lamps in good working order. Therefore any complaints received from the public about insufficient lighting were referred back to them. Answering one complaint Mr JB Paddon wrote the ‘obstruction of the flow of gas in service pipes by deposits of naphthalene is in frosty weather common to all gas undertakings’.

In 1885 in order to cut through the inevitable delays between the report of a faulty lamp and its servicing, it was resolved that Inspector Quatermain should make a daily report to the companies about defects. The name of Inspector Quatermain occurs regularly in the Minutes of the Lighting Committee. If there was any need for information about where to erect a new lamp, Quatermain was always asked to report on the matter.

A lamplighter was employed to light and extinguish the street lights. It was a laborious task because he was obliged to carry a ladder with which to reach the gas burner as well as a portable lamp to light the gas. This practice struck some councillors as being decidedly old-fashioned. In June 1882 Alderman Davey stated that ladders were out of date and lamps should be lit in a more modern manner. Alderman Lamb replied that the gas companies refused to use poles because it was impossible to keep lamps in good order with this method.  Nevertheless improvements in the design of lamps meant that later on the lamplighter could dispense with the need to climb up each lamp post and with his long pole he was able to ignite the gas from ground level. But it is not clear when this change came to Brighton. In the Minutes for 16th July 1894 it was again suggested that poles should be used. The Lighting Committee agreed but said they had no control over the matter and it was up to the gas companies.

copyright © J. Middleton.
Eastern Street
Brighton
At Brighton the lamps left burning the longest were on the Fish Market and in Russell Street. A note in the Minutes explains the reason ‘the coloured lamps to be kept burning later than other public lamps for the accommodation of fishermen at sea’. In 1885, acting upon Mr Gunn’s suggestion, a lamp was attached to the south end of each of the concrete groynes opposite East Street and the Old Steine. These lamps displayed a green light towards the sea and a white light to the shore.

In 1883 Inspector Quatermain reported that there were seven lamps at the market (this was the ordinary market situated between Black Lion Street and Market Street) and that Froud, porter at the market, had paid a lamplighter one shilling a week to light and extinguish the lamps. It was suggested that the gas company should assume responsibility.

All gas lamps were not lit every night. For example, the lamp in the road leading to St Peter’s Church, Preston was only lit on Sunday evenings so that parishioners attending Evensong could find their way. The churchwardens wrote to the Lighting Committee asking for it to be lit on other evenings too. This was allowed providing the surveyor was satisfied proper arrangements were made to light it and put it out.

Vandalism was a problem even then. In January 1881 a large reward of £5 was offered for information leading to the arrest of the persons responsible for throwing stones at public lamps on the new road over the railway at Preston. This was not the sort of behaviour people expected, after all improved street lighting was supposed to make people behave themselves.

The Minutes of the Lighting Committee are peppered with extracts from letters written by worthy inhabitants calling attention to nuisances committed in the dimly lit areas of Brighton, which they felt a strategically placed lamp would cure at once. Miss Elizabeth Dean wrote in 1877 calling attention to the ‘low state of morality of children residing in the smaller streets’, which she attributed to the darkness at night. In March 1884 Mr Johnson complained that since the position of the West Street gas lamps had been altered, the west end of Boyces Street was in complete darkness with the consequence that the side of his premises was being used as a urinal. In 1895 the Medical Officer of Health grumbled about the ‘nuisances committed under the West Pier at night’. On the whole the Committee was sympathetic towards these letters and would often ask Inspector Quatermain to investigate.

THE GAS PRICE ROW

It has already been noticed that the in 1878 the price of gas at Preston was 4/- per thousand cubic feet, which was later reduced to 3/6d. By 1889 the price had dropped to 2/11d but many councillors still felt that this was unnecessarily high. They remarked upon the fact that at Bath gas cost 2/5d per thousand cubic feet while at Leicester it cost 2/4d. The gas company retorted that coal was cheaper to buy at Leicester. The resentment about the way the gas company handled its affairs erupted into a major row when Alderman Hallett made the following allegations.
1) Since 1884 the revenue account had been habitually charged with the costs and labour involved in the laying of new mains; with a view to restricting capital expenditure.
2) For the past two years the management of the company had not been done in an economic way, therefore there was a higher charge for gas than was justifiable.
3) The methods of raising and administering the reserve funds tended to direct large sums out of divisible profits, thus deferring a reduction in the price of gas.
In 1885 from the accumulated profits, £13,809-10s was withdrawn and used for the commutation of pensions. In view of the large accumulated balance of surplus profits the price of gas to customers should be reduced.

Mr Silverstone produced a long report on the whole issue (for which he received payment of £70-13-7d) and his conclusion was the ‘views expressed by Mr Hallett in his address to the Council are well founded and that put to the severe test of a critical examination by recognised methods of analysis the result of it more than confirms their accuracy’.

The Silverthorne report did not deny that the company had been involved in heavy expenditure on new plant, the laying of mains etc but the large profits justified Hallett’s criticism. In 1884 the profit came to £42,144-10-5d and with the exception of the year 1887, gas consumption rose steadily during the 1880s.

By this time the Brighton & Hove Gas Company was one large concern because on 1st January 1882 the two companies merged. In 1881 the Black Rock gasworks produced 300 million cubic feet of gas in a year but one of the provisos of the merger was that production at Black Rock should cease within ten years.
copyright © Brighton & Hove City Libraries
1954 photograph of Portslade Gas Works

Neither was gas produced at the Hove site any longer. Instead Portslade was to become the producer of gas for the Brighton and Hove area. The new gasworks were built on a site between the canal on the north and the sea to the south. One great advantage of the situation was the easy transport of coal by ship right to the site. The first part of the scheme had been implemented in around 1871 and by 1880 production had risen to 364 million cubic feet of gas. By July 1884 the second stage of the Portslade gasworks was finished. Some of the redundant plant from Black Rock had been transported there and converted at a cost of £3,000. Soon the annual output had risen to 600 million cubic feet of gas and by 1888 it was 820 million. Meanwhile, at Black Rock the old gas holder was demolished and a ‘new capacious Holder’ was brought into use in October 1887.

One point that should be emphasized amidst all these figures, is that despite the high cost of Brighton gas it only gave out a 14-candle power light. It has been stated that anything less than a 16-candle power light was considered unworthy of the gas-maker’s art. It was also the case that gas at Leicester cost 2/4d per thousand cubic feet and produced a 16-candle power light while Brighton’s 14-candle power cost 2/11d. In the wake of the Silverthorne Report the Committee resolved that the Company be asked to increase the gas capacity to give a 16-candle power light but without increasing the price.

Mr J Cash replied some four months later stating that the directors had discussed the matter and were of the opinion that most of their customers would prefer a reduction in cost of 2d per thousand cubic feet rather than an increase of 2-candle power. However, in 1893 the quality of gas was improved as required by the Brighton & Hove Gas Act of that year.

IMPROVED GAS LIGHTING

copyright © J.Middleton
Seimen's
flat flame burner
1887
It is interesting to note that although electricity had begun to rear its head and various experiments in street lighting had been carried out, gas lighting continued to hold a pre-eminent position. This was because of the many improvements that had taken place. According to William Sugg it was ‘unknown up to 1858 that there was any difference in the light obtained from any burner consuming like quantities of gas’ and a poor light was often blamed on ‘bad’ gas. New burners controlled gas in a more efficient way; for example, the flat-flame burner produced a horizontal flame that gave maximum light beneath the lamp. This removed the circle of darkness inherent in the old upward burning Fishtails. The improved design of the regenerative gas lamps heated the air admitted to the lamp for the combustion of gas and this meant the flame burned more brightly. In 1879 Friedrich Siemens (1826-1904) patented a lamp of this sort and was one of the pioneers in the field. Another prominent name was William Sugg who, in 1874, introduced his Christiania burner, described as the best flat-burner ever made and it was further improved in 1880.

In 1879 one of Sugg’s Argand burners was installed in the lamp at the top of North Street, Brighton. It consumed 20 feet of gas per hour and the Lighting Committee made plans to see it in action. Perhaps they did not consider it gave out enough light because two years later a Sugg’s triple flat-flame burner was substituted.

In September 1885 it was recorded that two of Sugg’s lanterns were situated at a point between Preston Road and London Road. These lamps also consumed 20 feet of gas an hour. In June 1887 similar Sugg lanterns were fixed on pillars on the corner of Dyke Road and Prestonville Road, and Dyke Road and Montpelier Villas.

copyright © J.Middleton
Cowan
incandescent
gas lamp 1896
Sugg also designed the Whitehall lamps that were in use on King’s Road. The latter were more powerful and consumed 30 feet of gas an hour. But they were too expensive for the Lighting Committee’s liking. In June 1885 the Sugg Company wrote to them and offered to remove the burners. Instead they suggested substitute burners that would only use 18 feet of gas and moreover were fitted with an arrangement whereby consumption was reduced still further after midnight.

The Lighting Committee digested the contents of the letter and then wrote to the Brighton & Hove Gas Company asking for a quote to do the work together with a stipulation that where the road was broader and more light was required, burners consuming 24 feet of gas per hour should be used. Both types of burners should be so regulated that they only burned 6 feet of gas after 11pm.

Another well-known ‘gas’ name was the firm of G Bray & Co. In 1885 they supplied hexagonal street lanterns to light Queen’s Road. Although the lanterns only burned 15 feet of gas reducing to 5 feet, they were obviously a great improvement on their predecessors. The complete lantern cost £4-12-5d and presumably the old pillars were re-used. These cast-iron lamp standards were not a great expense. In 1896 Mr CW Catt enquired if the Lighting Committee had any lamp pillars they wished to dispose of and he was informed there were some that had cost £3-3-11d each but the committee were willing to sell them for 30/- each.

C.G.Reed's Advertisement in Page's Directory 1884
As an example of continued interest in gas lighting, a gas main was laid along the West Pier in 1893 – the very year in which electricity was used to light King’s Road. The firm of CG Reed & Sons undertook the work supervised by Mr Cash, manager of Brighton & Hove Gas Company. The four principal lights in the West Pier Pavilion were ‘Siemen’s powerful generative patent burners, while the centre light of all is a sun light of Cowan’s patenting. The corridors are lit with 10 handsome nine-light brass chandeliers, all fitted with opal globes and the gallery by ordinary starlights, all fitted with Sugg’s Christiania burners’. It is possible that Sugg designed the nine-light chandeliers because he was interested in the complete gas fitting and wanted to make gas lights aesthetically pleasing rather then merely functional.

It is surprising just how long gas street lighting lasted at Brighton. In 1938 there were still around 100 gas lamps in working order and the Lanes continued to be gas-lit. It was no sudden advance in street lighting that killed them off but the blackout restrictions imposed during World War II. When the time came to switch on the lights once more, the old standards were converted to electricity.


ELECTRIC LIGHTING

The first mention of electricity in the Minutes of the Lighting Committee occurred on 7th July 1879 when it was deemed ‘ not advisable at present to entertain the question of lighting by electricity’. However, advisable or not, that was the way things were developing and 22 months later they were obliged to form a sub-committee to report back on the ‘several systems in vogue’. The committee must have been given a jolt in that direction by the Siemens’s Company experiments conducted on Brighton seafront. Incidentally, it was Charles William Siemens who in 1882 agreed to be consulting engineer to Brighton Corporation with regard to electric lighting.

The date on which the Siemens’s experiments began (10th February 1881) is important to Brightonians who like to think their town was in the forefront when it came to electric street lighting. In fact there has been a long dialogue between Brighton and Goldalming as to who was first with what. Godalming’s electric street lighting was inaugurated on 26th September 1881 – the electricity being supplied by a small generator powered by a water wheel on the River Wey. However, electric lamps only lasted for three years at Godalming and then the lamps reverted to gas and electricity was not considered again until 1897. At Brighton on the other hand there has been continuous use of electric lamps since January 1882.

copyright © J.Middleton
Arc lamp
installation
Western Road
Brighton 1896
But to return to February 1881 and Siemens’s experiments; there were four 2,000 candle-power arc-lights suspended from scaffold poles and these were fastened to the cliff railings. A dynamo located in an arch under the cliff supplied the current.

It appears that other electric experiments were being conducted at around the same time. The British Electric Company sent a letter dated 5th July 1881 stating they were prepared to exhibit to the committee Mr Andres Patent Electric Light ‘which has been the subject of experiments at the Goldstone Bottom Waterworks and propose to put up the lamps from the Waterworks towards the Steine in a manner that will admit of an exhaustive trial of this method’. The committee agreed to travel to Hove on a Wednesday evening in August to see the experiment and that is the last we hear of the scheme.

The committee did not have to go far to see what else was available in the electricity field. In December 1881 a Health Congress and Sanitary Exhibition was held at Brighton and the committee had taken the precaution of sending special invitations in early November to various companies to come and ‘exhibit their electric lamps’. The committee resolved to spend £100 on erecting an iron building in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion to house the necessary steam engine and electric motors. In the event the bill only came to £94.

This exhibition must have caused considerable public interest – at any rate electricity at Brighton never looked back. By January 1882 electric wires were strung along the parapets of houses in Queen’s Road and Western Road. In the words of the Brighton Gazette ‘the latest phase of the electric lighting craze in Brighton is shortly to be witnessed in a series of experiments among private tradesmen whose public spirit is certainly commendable’.

The tradesmen paid £5 for a week’s trial and amongst them was Mr Soper of the well-known Soper’s Emporium situated at the junction of North Road and Western Road. Some of the lights were to be used inside premises. The experiments were so successful that electricity continued to be supplied to the tradesmen. The Hammond Electric Lighting Company generated the electricity from a small station housed in nothing more than a shed in the yard of Reed’s foundry in North Road. This small plant is considered one of the first in England to generate electricity off customers’ premises.

Although private consumers welcomed electricity, the Lighting Committee took a long time to make up their minds about it. In April 1882 the Hammond Electric Lighting Company wrote a letter asking the committee to discuss the question of introducing 16 or 40 electric lights as they had a small plant operating in Brighton and a concession for the Brush system for the Sussex area.  As a further inducement to business, they mentioned the fact they were about to erect a large number of arc-lights at Hastings. The Hammond Company received a somewhat frosty reply from the Town Council stating they were ‘not yet prepared to entertain a proposal to light a portion of the Borough by the Electric Light’.

In reality the Lighting Committee had been busily getting in touch with many different electric lighting companies for price quotations. The committee were advised to wait until the Electric Lighting Act (1882) had been passed by Parliament. This act provided two modes by which authority for the supply of electricity could be obtained:-
By licence
By a Provisional Order – both of them had to be granted by the Board of Trade.

There was no shortage of companies wanting to apply for a licence as regards Brighton. In fact there were six of them.
1)     Brighton Electric Lighting Company
2)     Electric Light & Power Supply Company
3)     Hammond Electric Lighting Company
4)     Jablochkoff Electric Supply Company
5)     London, Brighton & South Coast Electric Light & Power Company
6)     Swan United Electric Lighting Company

There were many people who felt Brighton Council had treated the Hammond Company in a shabby manner and in fact it went into liquidation in 1885. It is therefore ironic that Arthur Wright (about whom more later) who was the local manager of the Hammond Company should end up by being manager of the Brighton Council electricity concern. Nevertheless, the affair was not forgotten and in 1891, by which time the council had decided officially to go into the electricity business, the Brighton Gazette was still muttering about the ‘mean tyranny shown Mr Hammond’s concern’ not to mention the ‘shuffling and mystery which has hitherto characterised the conduct of this Business’.

LIGHTING THEATRE AND CONCERT HALLS

copyright © J.Middleton
1892 examples of internal lighting,
from left to right :-
'Electric Suspender' price 23/4d
'Electric Suspender' price 30/-
'Convolvulus' electric light pendant price 48/-
Although Brighton Council was slow to take an interest in electricity, the owners of commercial premises were quick to see the possibilities. This too at a time before there were proper mains and electricity generated in North Road travelled through wires running along the top elevation of premises.

When the Oxford Theatre of Varieties in New Road opted for electric lights, cables were connected to the wires above, which brought the current down to protectors placed in convenient corners of the auditorium. Each protector covered a section of ten lamps and required a current equal to one arc-light. If one of the lamps broke or burnt out the ‘protector has an automatic movement which obviates all danger. To this ingenious contrivance is attached a reserve lamp, which is immediately ignited upon any one of the sections being extinguished. This is a signal for attention which cannot fail to be observed’. Such were the admiring observations of the Brighton Gazette in May 1885 when it was also stated that the Oxford Theatre was the first concert hall to have incandescent lamps in the entire country. But it appears several theatres already had the same. The improved lighting qualities were not so much stressed as the enhanced atmosphere due to the absence of gas. This was especially important in a place ‘where the law allows the patrons to smoke the plebeian pipe, the costly cigar, or the congenial cigarette’.

Even public places that did not allow smoking enjoyed a clearer atmosphere with electricity. The people at St Patrick’s Church, Hove decided in 1893 to install electric lights in the chancel in order to preserve the newly painted frescoes from gas fumes. They also hoped the ‘air would become less vitiated’. Absence of heat, particularly on a warm, summer evening, was another point worthy of note. In July 1885 the management of St James’s Hotel on the corner of St James’s Street advertised the place as the only bar in Brighton to be lit by electricity and moreover the atmosphere was cool and refreshing.


In June 1894 two other Brighton music halls were connected to the electricity mains but not before each had paid a £30 deposit, which was the estimated amount of one month’s consumption. They were the Empire Theatre of Varieties and the Alhambra. Accounts were despatched every month and payment was expected within seven days.

The Theatre Royal was lit by electricity too. In 1894 Mr HJ Infield, managing director, wrote to the Lighting Committee to enquire about how much electricity had to be consumed before the reduced tariff came into operation. Whatever the answer to this question, it is a fact that during the pantomime season of 1895-1896 the theatre used 500 lights.

SHARP & KENT

When Brighton Council decided it was in favour of electricity after all, the Lighting Committee then had the task of working out how much such a scheme would cost and which part of the town should be lit first. It was stated that £100,000 capital was required while the cost of erecting an electricity generating station together with the relevant equipment would cost around £30,000; this did not include the cost of the land. The chosen district for electricity was by coincidence the exact limits of what remained from old Brighthelmstone – that is the area bounded on the north by North Street and on the west and east by West Street and East Street. Junction Road and King’s Road formed the southern limit. This comparatively small area contained 750 houses, including nineteen hotels and seven institutions, the Town Hall and the market. But it was thought ‘a good many of these houses will hardly apply for electric lighting’.The firm of Sharp & Kent of Victoria Street, Westminster, supplied the engines and dynamo for the generating station in North Street. One of these arrived by January 1891 and as its new home was not ready, it was stored in the electricity shed sited in the grounds of the Royal Pavilion. In March of that year the committee was reminded that Sharp & Kent were entitled to the sum of £1,500, being the first instalment for supplying the equipment. This transaction seems to have gone smoothly but other dealings with the firm were more abrasive until finally in April 1896 the company’s request to tender for some arc-lamps was refused.

By August 1891 three tenders had been received for wiring and fixing up lamps at the new station
1) Sharp & Kent £189-15s
2) Goolden & Company £219
3) Siemens Brothers £234-5-3d
Not surprisingly, Sharp & Kent were awarded the contract. They then withdrew, offering instead to do the work for £204-5-3d. The committee accepted the alteration and then the company switched the amount back to the original price. By 1892 there was a dispute between the Corporation and Sharp & Kent over a bill and the matter went to arbitration. Mr Preece awarded a deduction of £56 to the Corporation and ordered each party to pay their own costs. Mr Preece’s fee amounting to £26-5s was to be divided equally between the two.

In view of this experience it is odd that Sharp & Kent won another contract in June 1895. It must have been their low tenders that clinched the deal. The new contract was to erect 130 double carbon arc-lamps and to fix 120 of these lamps onto standards erected by the Corporation. The price was £2,167. It was later raised to £2,450 because the firm offered to supply Brockie-Pell arc-lamps instead of their own make. The different model was owing to the specifications of the borough engineer and therefore the subsequent delay in supply was not the fault of the company.

By October 1895 rumblings about the firm begin to appear in the Minutes – thus on 28th October ‘Messrs Sharp & Kent are not using sufficient diligence in carrying out their part of the contract’. Meanwhile, at the same time the Town Clerk wrote to the firm. ‘I hereby give you notice that unless within seven days from this date you deliver, erect and fix 20 of the arc-lamps and fittings complete in accordance with the terms of the specification’ Brighton Council would employ another contractor and recover the costs from Sharp & Kent.

This letter soon brought a reply from the firm stating ‘had it not been for the unfortunate failure to satisfy your engineer in the first instance with the lamps of our own make’ they would have been delivered by now. They promised that 20 arc-lamps would be installed by the 15th November 1895 with another 20 the week after that. But the 15th November came and went and still no arc-lamps. On 2nd December the Minutes recorded that Mr JMVM Kent from the firm attended a meeting of the Lighting Committee but unfortunately it does not reveal the conversation. Nothing daunted, in April 1896 Sharp & Kent wanted to tender for some more arc-lamps but the request was refused.

LAYING THE MAINS

Before the benefits of Corporation produced electricity could be enjoyed, people had to put up with the inconvenience of roads being dug up for the laying of mains. This often took longer than expected. In March 1891 Mr JN Shoolbred, consulting engineer, was so horrified at the slipshod way work was being carried out by the contractor in the North Street area that he called an immediate halt. He felt that much more care ought to be taken of the joints in the underground cable. In his letter to the Lighting Committee he wrote ‘I decline absolutely to be responsible for the future consequences should Messrs Callender be desired to proceed’. But the unfortunate Mr Shoolbred was not let off the hook so easily. The Town Clerk lost no time in passing the buck firmly back to him by stating ‘the Committee will neither interfere with your control nor relieve you of full responsibility for its being properly carried out’.

copyright © J.Middleton
Ordinate pedestal lamp
Preston Park, Brighton
The Council was equally intransigent when it came to claims from various people affected by the cable laying. They took a tough line and would not accept liability. In November 1891 the Revd EH Shackle’s daughter fell through a board covering a trench in North Street. She claimed £2 for the damage caused to her dress but she did not get it. In the same month the Committee received a bill for £13-3-6d for repairing a window at 162 North Street damaged by workmen ‘breaking up the road for electric light purposes’. The National Provincial Plate Glass Insurance Company sent the bill. In May 1892 the police informed the committee that Miss Cheesman of Ashburnham House, Patcham had fallen into a hole in Duke Street and in the same month there came the most unusual complaint recorded in the Minutes. Mr H Hollingdale claimed 3/9d compensation for 5 dozen smashed eggs caused when his van ran over a stone in Middle Street owing to the ‘negligence of the men employed in laying cables’. Needless to say he did not receive his 3/9d.

Even when the cable was safely laid and the lamp standards erected, people continued to hurt themselves. In August 1896 Mr JT Horgan claimed compensation because he struck his head on an electric light standard while riding on top of a bus. This complaint received more attention than the others and the committee debated the question as to whether or not the offending lamp standard should be removed.

Meanwhile, Mr JT Chappell was responsible for the building of the generating station at a cost of £3,989. Mr Chappell was described as the ‘well-known contractor of Brighton and London’ with many local buildings to his credit, including over 100 houses in the Cliftonville area of Hove and the Clock Tower at Brighton in 1888. He also laid the rails for Volk’s electric railway in 1883.

The Bedford Hotel, J Beal & Son of 53 East Street, the chemists Glaisyer & Kemp and DB Friend & Co. were among the first requests for a supply of electricity. DB Friend sold books, ran a circulating library and were printers and bookbinders too. In March 1892 it was recorded that if DB Friend did not pay for the electricity consumed, proceedings would be taken against them. Friend’s continued to quibble about the bill and by July 1892 had decided to settle the matter by going to arbitration.

INAUGURATION

On 16th September 1891 Mrs SH Soper, wife of Brighton’s mayor, formally switched on Brighton Corporation’s electricity supply. It was not by chance that the first building to be lit was Soper’s Emporium at the top of North Street. In August 1892 it was decided to commemorate the event by placing a suitably inscribed stone at the base of a shaft in the generating station. Electricity cost 7d a unit and from the switching on to the 31st December 1891 the amount sold came to £831-10-3d. The Post Office hopefully enquired if they could have electricity at reduced terms for their headquarters. But it was 7d per unit for them as well.

As regards other large users of electricity, it appears that the Grand Hotel had its own generator. In the Minutes for 12 December 1892 the Grand Hotel requested that they be connected to the mains for use as a backup ‘in case of their machinery breaking down’. In July 1895 it was noted that an electric lift was to be installed in the Town Hall but just as in the case with the Post Office there was to be no concessions.

It has already been mentioned that not much time was allowed in which to settle accounts. The Excelsior Rowing Club, which occupied an arch under King’s Road, were in trouble in January 1895 for non-payment. The committee made threatening noises but it must have been resolved satisfactorily as there is no mention of a disconnection.

Also in 1895 there occurred what must have been one of the first cases of someone trying to access electricity illegally. Mr Walker of 56 London Road had the bright idea of connecting up wires with the service main. Naturally enough, the Council was keen to prosecute him for making for making an unlawful connection and consuming electricity without paying for it. A summons was duly issued. However, it was a case of new ground being covered because the magistrates decided there was insufficient evidence for a conviction; the case was dismissed and the defendant was awarded one guinea in costs.

LIGHTING THE SYNAGOGUE AND PAGE & MILES

Not everyone who wanted electricity could have it of course. It depended upon which area you lived in and how many other people in your district wanted a supply too. Thus Mr Ginnett, owner and manager of the Hippodrome Circus, who in 1891 applied for electricity, was turned down because there were no other potential customers in his area.
Page & Miles Advertisement in Towner's Directory 1899

The synagogue in Middle Street was more fortunate and their request was recorded at the committee meeting on 25th January 1892. It was resolved that a main be laid from King’s Road via Boyces Street to Middle Street and the estimated cost came to £180. As we have seen it was this work that caused Mr Hollingdale to smash his eggs. According to the Minutes of the Brighton Hebrew Congregation (extracted by the late David Spector) the matter of electricity had already been discussed and on 20th December 1891 it was agreed to accept Page & Miles’s estimate of £114-12s to install electric lighting in the synagogue. As far as can be ascertained the Middle Street synagogue thus became the first place of worship in Brighton to be lit with electricity from the Corporation mains and certainly the first synagogue in the country as a whole to adopt this form of lighting.

Page & Miles were a well-known firm of electrical contractors. The two men were related to one another because they married sisters. Mr HL Miles’s daughter, Mrs Nancy Lynn, remembered some anecdotes her father told her and one relates to the synagogue in question. It appears that one Sabbath day the Rabbi went to open the gates in front of the Ark only to discover that an electric current was running through them and he was caught fast. The congregation were unfamiliar with this new-fangled electricity and did not know what to do. But at last the man on emergency duty at Page & Miles’s premises was summoned to switch off the current.

Mr Miles used to relate how fond people were of their old gas fixtures like the ornate gas chandeliers fashionable at the time. The solution was to wire them up for electricity but it meant the new light bulbs had to be shaped by hand to fit. The end of a bulb was held over a small flame; when it became malleable enough it was moulded to the right shape. It was a delicate task as can be imagined.

Another of Mr Miles’s anecdotes concerned a lady living in the Palmeira Square / Adelaide Crescent area of Hove who asked Page & Miles to fit an electric bell. The work was duly carried out and a bill for one guinea despatched to the house. The lady was horrified at the cost and queried the amount. Mr Miles wrote back and said the charge for the work was one shilling while £1 was for knowing how to do it.

Page & Miles had a workshop in Castle Street and business premises in Western Road. In 1897 these premises were garlanded with white china roses embellished with an electric lamp at the centre of each. This was done to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. It was quite a novelty and so merited a mention in the local press,

Besides the Rabbi’s mishap, there were other misadventures with electricity. In November 1891 Mr J Bailey of 63 East Street wrote to the committee about an explosion that had occurred at his premises and alleging the cause to be ‘negligence in the fitting up of the electric light installation’.

In 1896 the Brighton Gazette’ carried the following interesting report. ‘An unsuspected danger, or at any rate damage from electric wires, has involved the Brighton Guardians in an expense calculated at over £50. The wires were laid before the walls were perfectly dry, with the result that chemical action was set up that caused some of them to fuse. It appears that this contingency was one of the hitherto unknown risks of electric lighting, so nobody is to blame’.

This at least was a fairer statement than an article that appeared in the Sussex Daily News on 1st December 1892, which some people thought was designed to create dissatisfaction with electricity. Satisfied customers rose to the defence; thus Messrs Chapman & Holling of 7 West Street wrote to the committee stating they were ‘thoroughly satisfied with the light and charges’ and they appreciated the cleanliness and brilliancy.

INFRINGING A PATENT

In January 1893 Magnus Volk sent a letter to the Lighting Committee. This was not the first time the well-known originator of Volk’s railway had been in communication with the committee. In October 1882 he had offered his services as a consulting electrician to the Corporation. Although it would seem ideal to have such electrical advice on the doorstep, so to speak, the committee decided to ask Charles William Siemens, whose business was based in London, to act as consultant.

Undeterred by this decision, two months later Magnus Volk wrote to the committee inviting them to inspect the ‘incandescence Electric lamps’ at his premises 40 Preston Road. The Minutes do not record whether or not the invitation was taken up. In January 1894 Volk wrote to enquire what charge the Corporation would make to supply electricity for the Brighton to Rottingdean Railway Tramroad Company. (This means of transport was popularly known as Daddy Longlegs and opened on 28th November 1896; but it only had a short working life, closing in 1901). The committee replied that should electricity be required for 24 hours a day, the amount charged would be approximately 3.8d a unit.

When Volk wrote his letter in January 1893 he dropped something of a bombshell. He referred to the Borough’s adoption of the 3-wire system and added that the Westinghouse Company (owners of the patent) was applying for an injunction. Messrs Faithfull & Owen of Victoria Street, Westminster, despatched a formal letter shortly afterwards. The Corporation lost no time in replying that they were not using a 3-wire system and that the system they contemplated adopting was not an infringement of Dr Hopkinson’s patent. The Corporation either did not understand the nature of the new system or they were misinformed but three months later the tone of the Minutes changed completely. The Town Clerk was to enquire of the Westinghouse Company on what terms they would agree ‘not to contest the question of whether the use of the 3-wire system is an infringement of Dr Hopkinson’s patent’.

Brighton Corporation was obliged to send their plans to Westinghouse for investigation and the company electrician found that there was a definite infringement of the patent. Westinghouse informed Brighton Corporation of the fact and hoped a licence would be applied for because Glasgow, Dundee and Hull were already paying royalties. The Corporation did not have any other option and to avoid possible litigation, they proposed to pay annually £2-10s per ton of copper contained in the electric cables and royalties for any period for which the Corporation might succeed in obtaining an extension of the patent. This was not good enough for Westinghouse who insisted the royalties be paid in a lump sum up to 27th July 1896, the extent of the present life of the patent.

In September 1893 the bill for royalties came to £917-12-8d. Naturally this extra expense was something the Corporation could well do without and when they heard early in 1896 that Westinghouse was thinking of applying to extend the patent, it was resolved to oppose it. However, the Corporation was not too badly off because the licence under which the 3-wire system was used had provision for such a contingency and if the patent were extended the Corporation would only pay half-royalties.

In 1894 the Corporation had another jolt when they heard they might be infringing a second patent. In June of that year a letter arrived claiming that ‘Wright’s Patent Demand Indicators’ used in connection with the Corporation electric works was an infringement of patent 10434 belonging to Paris Eugene Singer.

The Corporation replied they had no knowledge of such a patent; they were sure their instruments were different altogether and besides the Reason Manufacturing Company of 112 Gloucester Road, Brighton had supplied them Henry Reason, director of the company in question, soon laid their fears to rest. His letter stated ‘ we use our instruments for a totally different purpose to his and his instrument could not so the work of ours any more that ours can do the work of his. Structurally they have one thing in common and that is public property having been known and published 60 years ago. We can understand that the Corporation will naturally desire to avoid the expense of litigation and as the matter is of some importance to us we are willing to hold them indemnified against any loss they may sustain in defending the action’.

John Hopkinson's Three Wire System. 

EXTRACT FROM JOHN HOPKINSON’S PATENT (3576 27th July 1882)

In order to combine the advantages of comparatively high potential in the feeding conductors with lower potential in the houses in which electricity is used, I make use of a system of 3 conductors in combination with 2 dynamo machines coupled in series. This system is shewn diagrammatically where AB represents the 2 dynamos, CD and EF represent the extreme conductors and GH represents the intermediate conductor. The positive pole of the dynamo machine A is connected to the CD and its negative pole to the conductor GH. On the other hand the positive pole of the dynamo machine B is connected to the conductor GH and its negative pole to the conductor EF.

ARTHUR WRIGHT

Arthur Wright’s name first occurs in the Minute Books in May 1884 when he was the local manager of the Hammond Electric Lighting Company. He and Mr Hammond, the managing director of the firm, had a meeting with the Lighting Committee. Evidently the meeting was not a success because six months later the committee received a letter and in June 1886 another one from Arthur Wright stating that his company was now in a position to light the seafront.

The one big difference was that the Hammond Company was no more. The Brighton Gazette of December 1885 carried the news that the Brighton Electric Light Company proposed to acquire the works and plant formerly owned by Hammond’s. The company was registered on 16th December with capital of £25,000 in £5 shares and Arthur Wright was the managing director. He soon built up the company and in 1888 stated his intention of applying to the Board of Trade for a Provisional Order to light Brighton and in 1889 he applied for a similar order to light Hove. Both these applications were unsuccessful. But it had the virtue of stirring Brighton Corporation into some sort of action with the result that they decided to light Brighton themselves. Arthur Wright then joined the Corporation as manager and engineer of their electricity works and, as we have seen, power was officially switched on in September 1891.

In July 1894 Wright wrote to the Lighting Committee to tell them he considered it inadvisable to put high tension dynamos in the old malt-houses as originally intended because it would be one of the first buildings to be demolished when extensive alterations took place in 1895. The enlargement of the electricity station led to the Corporation buying 39 North Road too. It must be remembered this enlargement became necessary only four years after the great switch-on and much of the success of the enterprise was due Wright’s able direction. This was recognised in 1895 when Wright’s salary was increased from £400 to £600.

It was also reported in 1894 that Brighton produced electricity ‘at a lower working cost than any figure yet published by any other electric light station viz. 2 1/3 pence per unit notwithstanding the fact that several other stations are much larger and have been longer established than the Brighton one’. It therefore seemed an opportune moment to revise the tariff. Electricity was charged at 7d per unit for the first two hours; this was reduced to one hour and all current consumed after that was charged at 3d per unit. Whereas electric light had once been restricted to shop windows and drawing rooms, it was stated that now it was ‘being used liberally in basement passages and kitchens’.

One of the drawbacks of increased usage was the varying pressure about which Wright received complaints in April 1895. He laid the blame on the ‘intermittent use of motors and large arc-lamps for photographic purposes’. It was a plain case of overloading and Wright told the committee they must insist on regulations respecting all greater demands than the equivalent of 100 8-candle power incandescent lamps being used on a 3-wire system.

It may be that such complaints led Wright to revise his ideas regarding the enlargement of the electricity works. Certainly by May 1895 he was thinking in terms of larger Babcock & Wilcox boilers while instead of the two smaller dynamos he wanted at first, he now intended to install a 750 horsepower Williams steam dynamo. But the engine room floor would have to be lowered to accommodate them.

Arthur Wright was efficient in getting rid of redundant stock. Apparently Brighton had a number of Shellenberger meters that were ordered before the ‘combined system of supply to the residential districts was devised’. Wright managed to sell off 30 to Bristol Corporation for £110. They probably considered they had a bargain too because the meters were 33 1/3 % off the list price. In 1896 a grateful Lighting Committee purchased a 1st class railway season ticket between London and Brighton for Wright at a cost of £31-10s.

In February 1896 Wright dealt with a query from Mr Wilkinson of the West Pier who wanted to know how much it would cost for a main to be laid along the pier. It is ironic that a gas main had been laid there only three years previously. Wright estimated the cost of laying a distributor main from King’s Road to the stage end of the West Pier at £200. He warned the committee the Pier Company might request the consumption of electricity in the kiosks to be treated separately from that used in the main part. The committee must insist the Pier Company should be responsible for the consumption of electricity on the whole pier.

LIGHTING THE ROYAL PAVILION

copyright © J.Middleton
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton 1900s
The Banqueting Room and Music Room were first lit by gas on 9th December 1821; Palmer & Green supplied the fittings. As to be expected with any new furnishing for the Royal Pavilion of that period, the gas lamps were colourful and exotic. The first prize must go to the huge central gasolier hanging in the Banqueting Room, which Bayley described as a ‘magnificent lustre of unparalleled size and beauty’. This impressive gasolier of immense weight contains a riot of crystal drops, curving dragons and lampshades resembling lotus flowers. It cost George IV the sum of £5,613-9s. Not surprisingly, some doubts were entertained about the safety of dining with this heavy gasolier suspended above the table like a glittering sword of Damocles. It is said that either Queen Adelaide or one of her ladies-in-waiting dreamed of the gasolier dropping on top of the king and so William IV took the precaution of having it removed and stored away. It was Queen Victoria who had it restored to its proper position.
copyright © J.Middleton
Spode pedestal lamp
Banqueting Room,
Royal Pavilion
1820s

Also in the Banqueting Room are eight beautiful pedestal gas lamps; Robert Jones designed them in around 1820. The elegant jar-like column supporting the lotus lamp is made of dark blue Spode porcelain and the stand is richly decorated in ormolu. Two curving dragons descend from the lamp while on the four pedestal lamps placed near the windows, there is an extra feature of a gilded dolphin at each corner of the base. The pedestal lamps stand 9 feet 9 inches tall and cost £5,343-4s. In 1850 the Royal Pavilion was sold to Brighton Corporation and the interior fixtures dismantled. The Spode pedestal lamps were despatched to Windsor Castle. There they remained until 1920 when George V presented them to the Corporation and they returned to their old home in the Banqueting Room.

From the 1850s the Royal Pavilion was the venue for public meetings and concerts. On one occasion there was a Christy Minstrel entertainment and while it was going on a gas leak was noticed. The search was unwisely conducted with the aid of a lighted taper and the resulting bang could be heard at the top of North Street.

Gas was not altogether a satisfactory way of lighting a crowded room. When functions were held in the Banqueting Room, ladies became overheated what with the press of company and the heat generated by dozens of gas burners. The Council considered the possibility of installing electric lights but naturally wanted to have a trial run before committing themselves to any outlay. Thus when a promenade concert was held in the King’s Apartments on 2nd November 1882 there were incandescent electric lamps for the first time.

The new lighting was so well received, both by the performers and the audience that the Pavilion Committee expressed interest in a larger trial installation. In fact one musician confided to committee member Mr Sendall some time later, that his health had improved greatly since the advent of electricity.

Magnus Volk suggested that he should install 500 incandescent lamps to replace the 573 gas burners currently in use. Volk estimated the cost of installing them, plus the Siemens dynamo, at £2,440. However, the Pavilion Committee was in no rush to convert to electricity exclusively, and all the old gas fittings were retained alongside the new electric ones. This posed enormous problems, particularly with the great chandelier in the Dome, which Volk wired up virtually single-handedly. There were already 200 gas burners in the chandelier and Volk added 200 electric lamps, taking care that none of the wiring came too close to a gas burner. In order to undertake this work, he had to sit on a plank inside the chandelier. As he was not allowed to take fire into the roof space, whenever he needed to use the soldering iron, he had to haul it up on a line.

The committee’s reluctance to rip out existing gas fittings was because in their view electricity was still something of a novelty and things could go wrong. For instance, all the electric lights went out in the middle of a Ball held in January 1884 and the gas burners were lit instead. Thus the Royal Pavilion continued to have a dual system of lighting, which cost around £1,200 per annum, out of which £212 was spent on gas in the second half of 1883. There were persistent grumbles about the cost of electricity at Council meetings but Alderman Brigden, chairman of the Pavilion Committee, was quick to point out that since the introduction of electricity there had been an increased demand for hiring rooms at the Pavilion.

During the summer, promenade concerts were held on the Pavilion lawns on Monday evenings. If the weather was fine it was an idyllic setting with the nearby trees festooned in Chinese lanterns while people strolled on the lawns and music (often provided by a military band) drifted across from the temporary bandstand. If it was raining the concert took place inside the Pavilion while outside the paper Chinese lanterns soon became a soggy mess. In 1884 Reed & Son offered to supply these lanterns at a cost of £16-6s for one evening or for £14-14s for every evening of the season.

However, at around the same time Magnus Volk wrote to the Pavilion Committee offering to put up 400 incandescent lamps arranged in festoons and supported on poles set 20 feet apart. He estimated the cost at £160 but this did not include the illumination of the bandstand. The committee accepted the offer after inspecting a trial lighting scheme on part of the lawn. Volk worked hard at erecting the apparatus and so it was a great pity that the evening of 28th July 1884 turned out to be one of soaking rain. Fortunately the weather was fine on 14th August and the 4th Dragoon Guards gave their promenade concert in the open air. Volk’s handiwork was described in the Brighton Gazette as follows. ‘On the eastern side of the lawn parallel with the gravelled walk, a line of incandescent lamps had been fixed and borne on poles. The trees at the northern end of the ground and the band platform had also been festooned in similar lamps. The little pinnacles and towers of the Pavilion façade had been tipped with lamps, which were also fixed amongst the stone work and front of the windows’.

In October 1892 the Pavilion and Dome were connected up to the town mains supply and so the Siemens dynamo was no longer needed. Siemens were also involved in the work because they designed the fuses specially. The following report appears in the Minutes of the Lighting Committee. ‘There are positive and negative switches for both Pavilion and Dome and all the main wires have cut-outs or fuses inserted close to the junction with the town system. They are fixed in the subway leading from the Pavilion to the Dome almost immediately under the centre of the roadway and far from any building. For the Pavilion there were 2 positive and 2 negative mains of 37 strands of number 14 BWG each with a carrying load of 190 amperes’.

THE SEAFRONT LAMP STANDARDS

copyright © J.Middleton
Electric arc
lantern
King's Road
1893
The first major lighting scheme and possibly the most expensive was the series of new lamps on King’s Road. There were 41 standards, each 28 feet high and placed 130 feet apart. It was the first time arc lanterns had been installed on an ordinary low-tension system. In other places such as London and Glasgow a high-tension system was adopted.

The lamps were arranged in sets of five, each set being independent of the others. If one set broke down, it would only affect one-eighth of the supply. It was claimed that the ‘gorgeous electric lamps’ gave ten times more light then gas and their strength was put at 1,000-candle power. The Brighton Gazette reported that the new lamps, plus necessary alteration to the lamp opposite the Aquarium, cost £1,545-11-7d. But the Minutes shows the scheme was a great deal more expensive than that – in fact the total cost of pillars, lamps and canopies came to £3,466-2-4d. Unfortunately, the amount of the loan sanctioned to undertake the work was put at £2,700, which left the council £766-2-4d in the red. The Town Clerk had to seek the Local Government Board’s permission to borrow that amount for a period of 30 years. It was estimated that the annual cost for continuous arc lighting would be £1,100 but this included everything from carbons and repairs to the trimmer’s wages.

The Mayoress, Miss Ewart, officially switched on the King’s Road standards on 16th September 1893. The Corporation had taken the precaution of trying out the lamps in the early hours just to make sure everything was in working order. The evening of the grand switch-on was one of drizzling rain and so only a few spectators gathered at the foot of Regency Square to see the ceremony. When switched on ‘one lamp refused to act for 10 minutes, but finally settled down to a career of steady progress’. It was felt the lamps contrasted ‘favourably with the mellow red of the despised gas jets still to be seen east and west’.

The lamps on the south side, plus the one in front of the Aquarium, were kept on all night but the rest were turned off at 11pm. It should perhaps be emphasised that the lamp standards with double pendant lights, which have become such a feature of the seafront, are not the same as the 1893 lights. The one constant are the cast iron columns. The 1893 column carried a single arc-light and the twin pendant lights were not added until the 1930s.

copyright © J.Middleton
Electric light standard
Camelford Street
It was inevitable the 1893 scheme would not please everyone and especially Councillor Ballard who was such a habitual grumbler that the Brighton Gazette remarked they were almost tired of writing his name. His chief complaint was that the standards were too high. ‘If they wished to light Mars or Venus, said Mr Ballard, they had done well in having such tall posts, but they would get double the light on the pavement and road if the standards were half the height’. In fact the standards were not nearly as high as the ones used in the Siemens’s experimental scheme. Ballard was supported by Councillor Sutton who stated the residents of King’s Road could not sleep ‘because the brilliancy of the light, which glared directly into their bedrooms’. The other councillors greeted this remark with laughter. Councillor Ballard lost no time in forwarding his suggestions to the Lighting Committee and they were duly recorded in the Minutes.
1)      The lamps should be lowered
2)      The canopies should be held up by a single piece of iron on the south side and the present ornamental supports removed.
3)      The present canopies should be removed and replaced by ones of more flattened shape with the inside surface covered in highly reflective enamel.
In fact the canopies, which were executed by Crompton & Company, had already been modified to the engineer’s specifications.

This was not the first time Ballard’s name appeared in the Minutes. In November 1891 he complained about insufficient lighting in New Dorset Street and Zion Gardens. Later in the same month he required a map showing every ‘considerable street within the area of the Corporation Electricity supply’ together with the estimated cost of mains laying etc. In February 1892 Ballard thoughtfully sent the committee a cutting from the Daily Graphic regarding an Electrical Exhibition at Crystal Palace.

In 1894 it was decided to commemorate the switching-on of the King’s Road standards by placing a suitably inscribed brass tablet on the lamp post at the foot of Regency Square. It cost £3-10s and recorded the names of the Mayoress, Miss Ewart, Alderman Henry Moon, chairman of the Lighting Committee, and Francis J Tillstone, Town Clerk. An amendment that the rest of the committee’s names should be included was not passed. Alderman Moon was chairman for four years and in 1894 a vote of thanks was ‘engrossed on vellum, framed and presented’.

The seafront standards were constructed of cast-iron with richly moulded ornamental parts. It is open to debate as to which firm cast them or who actually designed them. It is known from the Minutes that the Borough Surveyor designed lamp pillars and canopies in 1895 for the side streets and so perhaps he was responsible for the seafront ones too.
copyright © J.Middleton
Twin pendant lights
King's Road
1930s

At first glance today, the lamp standards look identical, painted uniformly in cream and Cambridge blue with silver pendant lamps. But a closer inspection reveals there are three different designs. The tallest and most ornate are on King’s Road and Marine Drive while Madeira Drive’s standards are shorter and stouter.

Those on the west side of Madeira Drive bear the Brighton coat-of-arms, while those on the east have a plain base with the maker’s name ‘J Every, Lewes’ visible. It does not seem likely that Every cast the King’s Road standards because his work always carried his name. Every’s name can be seen on parts of Madeira Terrace, on street furniture such as iron bench ends, on drain covers in Portslade and Southwick, and iron kerb edging at Church Hill, Patcham, not to mention many of the Hove standards on Kingsway. Every’s ironworks at Lewes were called the Phoenix Ironworks and the firm was founded in 1832 and lasted until 1952, when it went into liquidation. The name of the firm occurs in the Minutes from time to time when they bid for various lots of scrap iron on sale from the Corporation.

Cast-iron is a durable material and the seafront columns stand up well to adverse coastal weather conditions. However, although they are strong in this respect, they are brittle in another way because a direct impact from a vehicle will snap them in half. A lull of over 30 years when the columns remained untouched, was followed by four impacts in the space of five years. In January 1965 a car collided with a standard near Black Rock and in March of the same year a lorry had a similar mishap with a standard near the Aquarium.

There were spares on hand and the standards were replaced. But when an articulated lorry crashed into one near the Grand Hotel in August 1968, it could not be replaced from stock. Instead the last standard at the end of the series near Lewes Crescent was dismantled and re-erected near the Grand Hotel. In July 1969 yet another standard was demolished in an accident. It was estimated in 1982 that to purchase a new standard would cost at the very least £1,500 and probably a great deal more today. Part of the expense would involve the creation of a new mould from which a casting could be taken. In 1980 there were a total of 76 seafront standards: that is 65 standards running along the seafront and covering a distance of over two miles, plus a further 21 standards on the lower esplanade, Madeira Drive.
copyright © J.Middleton
One of the famous twin-pendent lamp standards on Brighton seafront

The silver-painted twin pendant lamps were added in the 1930s. The firm of GEC (Osram) Ltd., made them by hand from brass and copper. In 1964 an order was placed with the same firm for 26 replacement lanterns to match those already in existence. Extruded brass sections were used for the framework and copper sheeting for the lantern tops; altogether 1,300 joints were necessary. Brass and copper were used because like cast-iron they withstand the corrosive effects of a salty atmosphere.

In October 1980 the lanterns and their decorative brackets were removed because they were found to be unsafe. This caused howls of anguish from local residents and conservationists as the standards were felt to be one of the sights of Brighton. – a truncated column with a modern angled head stuck out like a sore thumb. But Brighton Council was not at that stage in a position to do anything about them since they were the responsibility of East Sussex County Council. In June 1981 a meeting of the Highways and Transportation Committee decided to restore the lighting columns to their original appearance and manufacturers were invited to tender for the work. It was hoped that the seafront standards would be restored to their former glory in the 1980s.
copyright © J.Middleton
The 2005 new lamp standards on the Brighton & Hove seafront
designed by Philip Andrews

HOVE

Street lighting was not of any importance to Hove until the 1820s when Brunswick Town began to be built. Before that time the village of Hove consisted of a few houses on either side of what is now Hove Street. In 1825 Hove Gas Company was formed and their engineer, John Grafton, designed the gasworks built on a site adjoining St Andrew’s Old Church. Brunswick Terrace was the first place in Hove to be gas-lit. By 1830 lighting had been extended to the western wing of Brunswick Terrace and lamps were erected at each end of the railings in front. At the same time lamps and fittings were attached to lamp posts that had already been erected in Brunswick Square and Brunswick Place. Packham & Son carried out the work; they sent in a lower tender than Palmer, Green & Company. Apparently, Packham’s tender failed to arrive within the time specified, but it was opened anyway and when it was found to contain a lower tender, the decision was soon reached to offer them the contract.
copyright © J.Middleton
This type of lamp post in Palmeira Square
can also be seen in Brunswick Square

The next large development in Hove was the building of the Cliftonville estate, which by 1861 contained some 277 houses conveniently near the Hove gasworks. It was because of this development that four gas lamps were put up on the path leading through the fields to Hove.

In 1882 the two ‘great monopolists of Hove and Brighton’ merged into one company. One of the provisions of the act enabling the merger to take place was that gas should not be manufactured in Hove within ten years from the time of the merger. A similar proviso applied to the manufacture of gas at Black Rock. In fact it seems gas manufacture at Hove had already ceased as a comment in the Hove Courier 9th July 1881 ran as follows: ‘It has only just dawned on us there existed such a power (to make gas at Hove). It is quite bad enough to have the gas holders in close proximity to the parish church, the bare idea of any Gas Company being permitted to make gas again in Hove would be a slur on our municipal institutions’. It is interesting to note in passing that in January 1881 the Hove Commissioners were totally opposed to the merger of the two gas companies.

Meanwhile, Hove had another burst of expansion in the 1870s with the West Brighton estate filling in the space formerly occupied by fields between Cliftonville on the west and the Brunswick area to the east. By 1877 Hove could boast of 366 gas lamps with the average distance between them being 42 yards. In 1881 the number had risen to 524 gas lamps but the average distance between them had also increased to 64.7 yards.

However, not all Hove streets were well lit. The main difficulty was that some of the streets had not been taken over by the Commissioners and were in fact private property. This meant that when a lamp was out of order, the Commissioners had to wait for it to be repaired although the Commissioners paid for the gas consumed. This was the case in the locality of Goldstone Street in 1880 when several people grumbled about lamps that had remained unlit for some time. The Town Clerk was instructed to reply that nothing could be done until the lamps were repaired.

In February 1881 the lamp opposite the Cliftonville Hotel in Goldstone Villas, which Mr Tamplin had erected, was offered to the Commissioners for £5. The offer was accepted. The Hove Courier remarked that it was not known if the Commissioners would ‘leave the lamp in its present position, or remove it to some of the totally dark streets in the town’.

The Drive and Eaton Road were still private roads at this time although the four lamps in the latter street were lit at public expense. When the Commissioners took over the lighting of roads, things did not improve overnight. In 1881 a correspondent in the Sussex Daily News asked plaintively ‘Has the curse of the Hove Commissioners fallen on Seafield Road that it remains half lighted for the fifth year of its existence?’

copyright © J.Middleton
Gas Standard with
fluted shaft and
square base,
Sackville Road
Hove. 1890s
Hove Drove was also notoriously dark. This road is now called Sackville Road, the name being changed in the 1880s to avoid confusion with The Drive. The following piece appeared in Passing Notes November 1880.

Scene Hove Drove
(The scene is so dark it cannot be seen). An intelligent Frenchman is being piloted over the heaps pf builder’s materials, which are distributed to confuse the stranger’s shins. He is swearing – happily in his native tongue, when he is startled by seeing three gas lamps – lighted! The following conversation between him and the boy who guides him ensues.
Intelligent Frenchman – Mon enfant, who is ze reech peoples zat can afford zis brilliant illumination?
The Boy Pilot – I don’t know who pays for ‘em, but in this house and that one, where the lamps is close to, two o’ the Commissioners – that’s like the Town Council, ye know – lives.
Intelligent Frenchman – Ah, zat is goot. What is it your placards in Brighton say just before ze election? If elected, we will watch ze interests of ze town at large, and zis ward particular’.

Despite the unsatisfactory state of some gas street lighting at Hove, it must be recorded that the Hove Commissioners were more forward looking in their attitude to electricity than Brighton Lighting Committee. As previously mentioned, Godalming was lit by electric lamps in September 1881 and in January 1882 Hove Commissioners decided to light their town by electricity. Negotiations with the Hammond Company had reached the stage where the Town Clerk had prepared a full contract. It was therefore something of a shock when Hammond’s accredited agent attended a committee meeting and stated that because Hammond’s were about to transfer their business to a limited company, they were not in a position to enter into a contract. The newspaper got hold of the wrong end of the stick by declaring the Hove Commissioners had abandoned the idea of electric lighting in the town. The Commissioners replied it was nothing of the sort and the Town Clerk and surveyor went off to attend the International Electrical Exhibition at Crystal Palace.

copyright © J.Middleton
Popular swan-necked
electric lamp standard
The Drive, Hove
The gas company were no doubt well aware of the impasse and were soon offering to show improved models of gas lamps. In 1882 Mr JB Paddon of the gas company proposed to give a public demonstration of these by removing the existing 22 lamps from Brunswick Terrace and substituting new ones. The offer was accepted and Mr Vizer thought it would be a great boon to Hove because the present state of light was simply disgraceful. It is fascinating to note how esteemed the position of civil engineer was in Victorian times. Joseph B Paddon lived in a substantial villa adjacent to the gasworks, which in more recent times has been mistaken for a vicarage or gentleman’s residence. By 1881 he had lived there for at least 20 years and the household contained his wife Julia, two sons called William and John, and four servants – a parlour-maid, a house-maid, a cook and a needlewoman. Unhappily, the house has since been demolished to make way for Tesco’s.

Some people wanting an improvement in their lighting were obviously uncertain about which authority to approach. Thus a letter from Miss Ryan, the Lady Superior of the Convent of the Sacred Heart, Hove, landed on the desk of the Brighton Lighting Committee. The letter dated November 1884 requested that lamps be erected in The Drive. The committee, no doubt with relief but with polite phrases, replied that the portion of The Drive in question was not within Brighton’s jurisdiction.

copyright © J.Middleton
Gas standard
at the top of
Boundary Road,
Hove 1924
During the 1880s no electricity was being supplied to street lamps in Brighton or Hove on an official basis – apart from the various experiments of course. However, there were already private consumers in both towns. This was before any mains had been laid down, and bare wires were simply festooned from house to house. In Hove this practice was particularly dangerous according to Major Cardew, Board of Trade adviser, because there were long spans across squares and open spaces. These far exceeded the length of the limit laid down by the Board of Trade and one span was found to exceed 200 yards. Major Cardew was of the opinion these spans ought to be considerably reduced. He thought it was doubtful insulated wires and suspenders could be safely used because of the extra strain on the suspenders, especially in strong gales.

The reason for Major Cardew’s inspection in 1889 was that the Board of Trade wanted to regularise electricity supplies and ensure companies adopted a certain standard. No doubt the Board of Trade had certain powers because Major Cardew’s conclusion was that the forcible stoppage of electrical supply would cause great inconvenience to the inhabitants of Brighton and Hove. According to one resident Mr E Sassoon, the company had already been ordered to stop running their current in the daytime and he wrote complaining of the fact. Major Cardew considered the Brighton & Hove Electric Light Company were doing their best to rectify matters and had already purchased a considerable quantity of cable to replace the un-insulated wires. But now there was a delay because the steel suspending rope had not been delivered and they had not been able to obtain the necessary way-leaves for attaching the supports. As to the question of mains, the company had no authority to break up roads in order to lay them.

It must not be thought the Hove Commissioners were idle while Major Cardew was busy inspecting dangerous wiring. They had already been into the problem of supplying electricity within Hove and a long report appeared in the Minutes of the General Purposes Committee in January 1889. The Commissioners were thorough in their research making ‘numerous enquiries of persons having knowledge and experience of electric installations’. Their enquiries stretched from Brighton to a similar system at Eastbourne and West Brompton plus several interviews with the Brighton & Hove Electric Light Company. The end result was that the Commissioners were thoroughly confused. They ended their report with the statement that they were ‘unable to decided upon the comparative methods of the different systems and believe that in the present state of the science no sufficient data can be obtained for forming a satisfactory judgement as to either efficiency or economy’.

The systems they examined were a) the high transformer one b) the system based upon the principle of storage by the use of accumulators. The former system was in use at Brighton (with overhead wires) and at Eastbourne (with wires laid underground). It was described as the transmission of electric energy by alternating currents at high tension reduced to a lower pressure by transformers or converters placed in every house or in other convenient positions. It had been used with success at both places and a new and efficient installation had just been completed at West Brompton. But the Commissioners were not carried away with euphoria over these successes because they were advised the system was at present defective, and that safety and certainty could not be absolutely guaranteed. Besides the power could not be used for anything other than lighting. On the other hand, the accumulator system was in use in various parts of London.

copyright © J.Middleton
Gas standard
west side
Lansdowne Place
1929
Just over a year later a more positive attitude towards electricity emerged at Hove. By this time the question of electric light was thought important enough to warrant its own committee, instead of being part of the General Purposes Committee. The Electric Lighting Committee held its first meeting on 26th April 1890 and Messrs Duncombe, Dunhill, Howlett, Knipe, Reed, Sargeant, Turnbrill, Woodman and Woodruff were present with Mr Woodruff taking the chair. The debate was about the best way of supplying electricity for Hove and there were three ways it could be done.
1)      The Commissioners could erect the buildings, provide plant, lay down mains etc and borrow the amount of money required.
2)      The Commissioners could erect the buildings, provide the plant etc but then make arrangements with a company to work the plant and supply the electricity.
3)      The Commissioners could negotiate with a responsible company to provide everything.

It was felt quite strongly that the third method was best because the ‘initiation of the works would be better and more economically accomplished by a private company who were directly interested in the financial success … then by a Body in the position of a Local Authority’. They added the canny proviso that when the undertaking was fully organised and success assured, the Commissioners could always take it over. In fact the Borough of Hove did not buy out the Hove Electric Company until 1912.

Mr Crompton, the engineer, produced a detailed report concerning the proposed Hove works in June 1891. He advocated the use of the 3-wire low-pressure system, particularly as Hove was so compact. The electricity would be supplied at a constant pressure with accumulators as an auxiliary source of supply. The mains were to consist of culverts in which bare copper conductors rested on glass insulators and only if there was insufficient room for culverts, would continuously insulated cable be employed. These cables, insulated with rubber of the highest quality, would be enclosed in wrought-iron pipes.

copyright © J.Middleton
Three light cross-road
standard, formerly
standing in
Mile Oak Gardens
Portslade
The generating station ought to be centrally situated and Mr Crompton considered the ideal site was north-east of the Cromwell Road / Holland Road junction. The site could be purchased for £1,215; it was near the centre of population, and it was adjacent to the railway so that coal wagons could be run into the works and the coal deposited directly into bunkers. One part of the plan at least was modified. The 1891 report specified five Lancashire boilers (all constructed of steel and able to withstand a working pressure of 160lbs) and eventually six steam dynamos (three of 250 horsepower and three of 100 horsepower). But in 1893 the company stated that since making these designs, they had gained further experience in the use of Lancashire boilers and now proposed to have boilers all of the same size (250 hp) and to alter the arrangement of chimney and flues. The estimated cost of the entire works (buildings, dynamos, instruments etc) was put at £53,104. Crompton & Co was chosen as contractors because they were the only firm who had accepted the scheme adopted by the Commissioners. Mr Crompton himself received a fee of £94-10s for his professional services.

But it was a straightforward matter because first of all there was difficulty in raising sufficient finance to form the Hove Electric Light Company and this was put down to the state of the money market. Later in 1892 Crompton decided to ‘apply among our immediate circle of friends for the capital required’. There was some urgency in the situation because the Commissioners had inserted a penalty clause by which the company would be fined £5 a day if electricity was not being transmitted by a certain date. This penalty was later reduced to £2 for three months beyond 15th February 1893 in order that the work might be completed.

The years 1892 and 1893 saw a tremendous amount of activity in Hove with electricity mains being laid in a large number of streets in an area stretching from St Aubyns and George Street in the west to York Road and Waterloo Street in the east; bounded on the south by the coast road and on the north by Cromwell Road. Not every street within this area had mains but the principal ones such as the Avenues, the Brunswick area, Medina Villas, Tisbury Road, Eaton Gardens, The Drive and parts of Western Road most certainly had. Crompton wrote to remind the Commissioners that before the mains could be laid, notice must be served on the gas company, the water companies and the Postmaster General. At one stage at the end of 1892 there was a discussion as to whether it was possible to lay telephone wires in the electricity culverts but the company replied it was a physical impossibility.

Some of the streets within the main laying area were already being supplied with electricity from a rival company, the Brighton & Hove Electric Company Ltd. This company had already applied for a Provisional Order in 1889 without success. In 1892 they too were agitating to lay mains as their business had greatly increased and their directors were ‘continually being asked to extend their operations in Hove’.

Another of Crompton’s proposals to appear in the report of 1891 was that there should be fourteen ornamental cast-iron lamp standards from Adelaide Mansions to Waterloo Street, a distance of some 700 yards. Arc-lamps should be provided (each to give 2,000 candle-power) and the lamps should be 26 feet above the surface of the road. The lanterns should be glazed with same sort of fluted glass that Crompton had used on Southend Pier. He estimated the lamps would cost £20 a year to maintain, including the price of electricity at 4d per unit, the cost of carbons, cleaning etc. The price of electricity should drop to 3 1/2d after seven years. Of course it was no part of Crompton’s brief to supply the cast-iron lamp standards – that was the responsibility of the Commissioners. There is no indication whether or not the specifications were carried out.

copyright © J.Middleton
Double lamp standard
Cast by Every of Lewes
Kingsway, Hove
It should not be thought that with all this electrical activity, the streets ceased to be gas-lit. The electricity was for use inside houses while gas lighting outside remained the norm in Hove for many years. There were two experimental electric lamps in Western Road installed in 1893 but they could not have been deemed a success since they were discontinued in 1898, and arc-lamps in Church Road were removed in the same year.

In September 1919 the Borough Surveyor reported the total number of gas street lamps was 1,958 and out of this number only 29 remained lit until dawn. He suggested that 800 lamps should be kept lit as most of them were turned off at 11.30pm. This was agreed but the number was reduced in 1921 due to a coal strike.

Perhaps the last word should be about the magnificent Kingsway lamp standards, the bases and columns of which were cast by John Every of Lewes except for three that are replacement facsimiles. There are 26 double standards with twin pendant lights, and they are all numbered starting off on the east side of Brunswick Terrace and continuing to Grand Avenue. Some lamps are incorporated into the wall at Adelaide Crescent. They have become a symbol of Hove’s more restrained and elegant attitude when compared with the exuberance of  the King’s Road lamp standards at Brighton.

KINGSWAY LAMP STANDARDS

copyright © J.Middleton
Gas standard on
King's
Esplanade 1929
In 1923 the well-known firm of John Every of Lewes supplied 20 cast-iron lamp standards for Hove esplanade at a cost of £512. They replaced the old gas lamps that had been spluttering away there since 1885. Later on the same firm were responsible for the 26 electric double-standard pendant lights erected in Kingsway. The design was a triumph of elegance and solidity and were much admired for many years. In the early 1990s a decision was taken to keep the Every base and column while replacing the top part. Three of the original columns were found to be unfit for re-use but copies were faithfully matched. The new brackets were made of cast aluminium on steel and the cruciform frame supporting twin Sugg pendant lanterns incorporated a design of the Sussex martlets. The work was a joint enterprise between East Sussex County Council and English Heritage. The result was certianly eye-catching but some people thought the shape somewhat top-heavy. However, it is surprising these standards were so short-lived. 
In 2005 new single-lamp standards were installed to light the cycle lane on Kingsway. Then the Every columns were replaced with double-standards of the same design. Philip Andrews, a Ditchling architect, designed the standards free of charge. He took his inspiration from waves, boats and surfboards. The standards are made of steel and the aluminium from the previous lamps and brackets (worth around £700 a tonne) would be re-cycled.  
copyright © J.Middleton
The 2005 new lamp standard on the Brighton & Hove seafront
designed by Philip Andrew

SOURCE LIST

Brighton Lighting Committee Minutes. R/C 16 Volumes 1 to 7 (from 1887 onwards) East Sussex Record Office
Brunswick Square Commissioners Minutes, April 1830 – November 1845. Hove Town Hall
Hove Electric Lighting Committee Minutes.  1890 – 1894. Hove Town Hall
General Purposes Committee Minutes. Book number 8. 1881 – 1903. Hove Town Hall
Brighton Gazette 27 November 1823 / 29 January 1824 / 22 April 1824 / 6 May 1824 / 16 September 1841 / 20 October 1859 / 20 October 1859 / 12 January 1882 / 21 January 1882 / 16 February 1882 / 18 February 1882 / 16 March 1882 / 8 June 1882 / 19 January 1884 / 31 July 1884 / 4 October 1884 / 8 May 1885 / 20 May 1885 / 24 May 1885 / 8 July 1885 / 22 December 1885 / 26 November 1891 / 7 September 1893 / 16 September 1893 / 23 September 1893 / 7 October 1893 / 19 August 1893
Brighton Herald 22 January 1876 / 6 October 1894 / 3 October 1896
Hove Courier December 1880 / February 1881 / July 1881
Passing Notes November 1880
Evening Argus 23 July 1969
(Brighton Gazette, Brighton Herald Brighton Reference Library
Hove Courier, Passing Notes micro-film Hove Reference Library)

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aaron (H) Street Furniture (1980) Shire Album 47
Attwick (WH) Brighton since the grant of the Charter (1929)
Bishop (JG) A Peep into the Past (1880)
Chandler (D) Outline of the History of Lighting by Gas (1936)
Copper Spring 1964
Ellman (Revd EB) Recollections of a Sussex Parson (1912)
Harrison (KA) Brighton Street Lighting and Illuminations (no date) pamphlet
Haveron (F) The Brilliant Ray (1981)
Higginbottom (D) The Royal Pavilion Brighton (no date)
Middleton (J) Encyclopaedia of Hove & Portslade Volume 13 (2003)
O’Dea (WT) Darkness into Daylight (1948)
O’Dea (WT) Lighting No 3 (1970) HMSO
Phoenix Ironworks (no date) Sussex Archaeological Library, Lewes
Porter (HC) A History of Hove (1897)
Roberts (HD) A History of the Royal Pavilion (1939)
Robins (FW) The Story of the Lamp (1939)
Volk (C) Magnus Volk of Brighton (1971)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2012
page layout by D.Sharp