A Photographers & Visitors Guide & Timeless Stories

Gas Lamps and Penny Farthings

The first gas lighting appeared on Pall Mall in 1807 and began to spread from 1812 when the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company was created.  Early gas was created by heating coal which then released mainly hydrogen.  More about present day London’s Gas Lamps and where to see them.  The best place being the broad avenue of Kensington Palace Gardens.  The gardens do close at dusk but there is information about turnstile exits here.

A more intense light could be created by directing an oxyhydrogen flame upon a cylinder of quicklime (calcium oxide).  The resulting  light was commonly known as limelight and used for stage lighting.   Hence the term “being in the limelight” is used to mean being the center of attention.

These gas lamps are just outside the British Museum with a Penny Farthing bicycle further down the page.

Gas Lamps - British Museume


Museum Tavern - Gas Lamps


Museum Tavern


Gas Lamp


Peny Farthing Bicycle


Peny Farthing Bicycle - B and W


Peny Farthing Bicycle - Aged

10 responses

  1. Oh, the nostalgia! What lovely shots.


    March 24, 2015 at 12:35

    • Thank you. A bit of mist and some period dress and one could back in the Victorian age.


      March 24, 2015 at 14:35

  2. Oh, it looks so beautiful!


    March 24, 2015 at 19:51

  3. I walked past those lamps and had no idea they were gas lamps. How wonderful!


    March 24, 2015 at 22:37

    • Some have been converted to electric, but those with a more amber glow will be gas. There 1,500 genuine gas lamps that have been preserved across London. Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      March 25, 2015 at 02:17

  4. I have an old gas lantern in my living room that just hangs on the wall looking pretty. The old lamps add so much character (and CO2?) to the streets.
    You chose a good photo for B&W. And surprisingly to me, I think I like the last version best. It looks like a very old recovered image.


    April 2, 2015 at 20:31

    • Very true, but then, at the moment, most electric comes from CO2 producing power plants. Hopefully that will improve.

      I like the last B&W for the same reason as you. Almost as if it came from a very old newspaper. Being brought up with mostly B&W photographs, papers, TV it is always associated with past and, to some extent, nostalgia for blissfully simpler times (no cellphones,internet only 2 TV channels etc). What am I saying. 🙂


      April 2, 2015 at 23:59

  5. Such wonderful sights! I like how you altered the photos for the bicycle, which is a great look at the past too!


    April 16, 2015 at 19:31

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