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Gas street lighting in Coventry

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Annewiggy
Tamworth
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46 of 57  Wed 15th Apr 2020 4:17pm  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1789

This shot from Britain from Above is 1946. The stands are still there on the islands but you can’t see if they are complete. Is it possible that they were replaced with electric after the war using the same stands?
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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47 of 57  Wed 15th Apr 2020 9:53pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:769

Having read previous posts, and studied the photo carefully (blowing it up as much as possible), I'm fairly certain of a couple of things. First, I'm sure the shot was staged, because the "workman" does look too smart, as if he's in a marching band, not overalls. He's bolt upright - normally your body would be bent over the job in hand. He doesn't appear to have any tools or accessories, not even a cleaning cloth or a bottle of cleaner. And he appears to be merely touching the lamp lightly, as if posing. Secondly, they're not gas. As Rob says, they're on chains. No sign of a gas pipe, which would most likely be thicker than an electric flexible cord. And if gas, it would have to be a flexible hose, not a solid pipe, which would be even thicker, since the fitting is on a chain which will swing . From what I can see, the glass fitting doesn't appear to house a gas mantle, more like a clear lamp; maybe incandescent (tungsten filament), or possibly discharge, mercury-vapour, which was common in street lights for many decades, with its characteristic bluish glow. (They preceded the sodium lamp, with its horrible monochromatic yellowy-orange glow.) If you look at other photos of the gas lamps, like the ones we had in our road when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, the glass part was larger, to allow fumes and heat to dissipate. There was more gas-associated gubbins inside than can be seen in this photo. But in all the gas lamps I've come across, the glass and the works were fixed, i.e. could not flap about. It must be borne in mind that gas mantles are/were extremely delicate and easily damaged things. In our picture, the whole of the light fitting, hanging from a chain, would be swinging around in the breeze or wind, and you wouldn't want that if it were a gas lamp, would you? Lol
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Slim
Another Coventry kid
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48 of 57  Wed 15th Apr 2020 10:18pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:769

A typical Coventry gas street lamp: See what I mean - it's solid, so won't swing in the wind, which would at best unstabilise the flame. And there's all the gubbins, the mantle/burner, igniter, timing clock etc. Also, note that the glass enclosure is completely open at the bottom, to allow fresh air in, with controlled ventilation at the top to allow the fumes to escape by convection. In the Corporation Street photo, the round glass bowl appears to be sealed at the bottom, which means that the gas could never burn (without a separate oxygen supply). I rest my case.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
mcsporran
Coventry & Cebu
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49 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 12:11am  
Member: Joined Oct 2013  Total posts:458

It seems to me that this is more likely to be a publicity shot for the conversion to electricity. Even the vehicle looks like a milk float, no radiator, battery powered.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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50 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 2:52am  
Member: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:3576

I remember saying it was a 'set up', so obvious. Roll eyes
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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51 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 10:49am  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1789

Just another date to throw into the pot. The “City of Coventry Gas Department” on the side of the truck passed from the control of the city on the evening of 30th September 1949. It then became a unit of the nationalised gas industry. Would they have continued using the Coventry truck or does this mean the picture was pre 1949? I wonder also if the gas lights were not working after the war they would have been converted before 1949.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Annewiggy
Tamworth
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52 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 11:11am  
Member: Joined Jan 2013  Total posts:1789

I am even more confused now. There is a picture "Coventry memories" taken from behind one of the arms of the lamps in the truck picture dated 1939!
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
20A-Manor House
Coventry
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53 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 12:01pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2020  Total posts:88

Wow! I can't help with the date or why it was taken. But so many great posts about the picture.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Helen F
Warrington
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54 of 57  Thu 16th Apr 2020 12:52pm  
Moderator: Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:2331

So I've checked Britain From Above and the buildings on the north side of Well Street were there in 1939 but not 1946. They were 'modern' brick buildings of substantial size and unlikely to have been demolished before the war. So it's likely that the photo was post war and the buildings were destroyed in the bombing. The gas building itself looks a bit worse for wear as if time and bomb damage has taken the newness off.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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55 of 57  Sat 18th Apr 2020 1:01pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3827

Chapelfields was known as 'the land' when first laid out. One of the most pleasing of the city. A painted view from Hearsal-hill of full view of the town the elevated spot 340 ft above sea-level as seen on a foggy night bears resemblance to a seaside town with lights as if seen from the sea, the gas lamps from Hertford street seen as a pier.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
PeterB
Mount Nod
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56 of 57  Sat 18th Apr 2020 5:34pm  
Member: Joined May 2014  Total posts:333

There is a 1957 photo of the Co-op which seems to show the original lamp column with a new top with fluorescent lights. Peter.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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57 of 57  Sun 19th Apr 2020 10:45am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3827

Neil has a photo of the same gas lamp before the war on the Corporation Street topic.
Town Planning and Development - Gas street lighting in Coventry

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