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Gas lighting

Peter Walker

gone but not forgotten
Most of the houses built after 1918 had electric lighting built in, nut earlier houses, like my two nans' houses in Grasmere Road Handsworth originally had gas lighting. My one nan lived in a rented place where the electricity was put in by the landlord about 1930, but thge other owned her house, but got her brother in law, Uncle Les to wire it up - he had been an electrician in the Navy and later worked for Mitchells & Butlers. His wiring was sound enough perhaps but you could see it everywhere, nothing was concealed in the plaster.
In about 1946 we went to visit former neighbours who had taken on a shop in Deykin Avenue Witton, near the corner of Brookvale Road. That still had gas lighting then. I remember the palaver of turning the light on when it got dark. But I do like to see gas lights in the street.
There is nstill a pub that has gas lighting - the Beacon in Sedgeley, a wonderful piece of reconstruction which aI would recommend to anyone who likes a good traditional (home-brewed) beer. But I mustn't advertise!


master brummie
I clearly recall my neighbour having gas lighting - and that would be in the early 60's


master brummie
we had gas lighting in our house till the advent of thet new fangled stuff electricity what a difference it made no more trips to the battery shop the radio ran of the mains, it's quite a long story from gas to electricity first of al the dug up the street to lay the main cables the old night watchman in is hut at the top of the entry this seemed to go on for ages in the day men were digging trenches all over the place the the cable layers came to put those big thick black cables in the ground every few yards they fitted junction boxes after the joint wa smade they would melt buckets of ter to fill these boxes the they fitted a lid over the top to make the joint safe, from the junction another cable was taken down the entry to gain access to the house, the the electricians moved in to wire up the house, I can still remember the first time they switched them on the difference was unreal. back to the gas besides lighting the house up it also generated heat it always seemed to have a yellow glow and a odour the mantles were a problem they were so fragile you had to burn them before you could use them thay cam in little cubic boxes it wa tricky just to get them out the base was ceramic like anf the filement was like powered cotton the material intensified the light to make it whiter there was a see saw like control mechanism to control the brightness from each end of the control hung a chain you pulled it in opposite directions to either higher or lower the flame in the bedroom kitchen and attic you just had a pipe coming from the wall which was swan shaped with a mantle covered by a globe well there should have been a globe but we never had one these were controlled with a thumb screw cock or valve,
to finish off the story Rod and myself are going to visit an ld Birmingham company that made gas light fittings an electric light fittings this company as been in Birmingham for 199 years but sadly to say is as now ceased trading so look out for a new story soon on the main site this is just one of the things Rod and myself do to find interesting items for you all to read and pictures I hope
if you know of any such like stories let us know


We still had the fittings for gas lighting upstairs in our house. We were warned never to touch them because we would "blow the house up" I'm pretty sure the gas lighting would have been marginally safer than the electric supply installed in the house :lol:


master brummie
Our house in Guildford St had electric installed in 1936 but the 12 houses in the court at the back of us didn't get it until the '50s. We still had gas as well though, until the late '60s when there was a major upgrade of our street by the council.
Before I was born, between the wars, the family lived in a court down the road. An electric lamp was intalled in the court (not to be named) but not in the back to backs. My father, who was an amatuer electrician and repaired neighnbours radios, and a neighbour, connected up their houses from the lamp; so I have been told but I will deny any knowledge of this if questioned.