I would like to respond to the letter last week from Mr J Williams, entitled ‘The Old Street lamps were incredibly ugly’. To an extent (perhaps surprisingly) I would agree with him.
When the columns were converted from gas to electricity, an electrical connection box and a swan neck attachment as shown in your photo were fitted to them in place of the original lantern.
Over the decades, a century or more in some cases, many layers of paint have obscured the fine detail of the castings. In more recent years, probably because replacement was planned, most have become tatty.
I invite everyone, including Mr Williams, to have a look at some columns that have not been treated so poorly. Crown Place, a delightful street with setts, between the Crown Hotel and the Royal Pump Room has three fitted with proper lanterns.
In the centre of Crescent Gardens, there is a small pavilion around which are set five examples that look just as they should, plus one on the steps up to the Mercer Gallery.
Going up Montpellier Hill (on the footpath next to the buildings – not along the roadway) we see six examples with authentic type lanterns.
These could probably look even better with shot blasting to better reveal the detail not only on the square bases, but also around the ladder bars where you may find a small lion’s head or other unexpected features.
Harrogate Civic Society