10th January 1833 - first gas lights in Salisbury turned on

Salisbury Gas WorksOn the 10th January 1833 the first gas lights in Salisbury were turned on. [1]”.

The historian T J Northey tells us that:

Its welcome was not an unanimous one. Many were the forebodings of the evils that would result from its use, suffocation and poisoning, explosion and conflagration, being among the terrors dreaded by the more nervous of those who looked upon the innovation with disfavour. Its value and utility were soon demonstrated and acknowledged, until at length it has come into universal service

The lighting was probably in Fisherton Street. I have a reference to a plan for the first gas lights to be installed in Fisherton Street by Christmas of 1833[2]. Either that reference is wrong on the dates or this one is!

The plan to install the lights is mentioned in ‘Salisbury Gasworks: The Salisbury Gas Light and Coke Company’ by John H. Watts, which was published by the South Wiltshire Industrial Archaeology Society.

I got the date of the switching-on of the lights from the T J Northey ‘Popular History Of Old & New Sarum’. Northey’s exact words are:

The 10th of January, 1833, is notable as the date on which gas was first used as an illuminant in the streets of Salisbury[3].

As I see it there are three possible explanations - Mr Watts got the date wrong, Mr Northey is wrong, or I’m wrong.

The latter alternative is by far the most likely. I read the SWIAS history of Salisbury Gasworks in the library and made notes. I probably got the date of the announcement wrong.

Footnotes

[1] The Popular History Of Old & New Sarum. T. J. Northy, Published by the Wiltshire County Mirror & Express Co. Ltd., 1897. Available digitally on the Internet Archive - URL: https://archive.org/stream/popularhistoryof00nort/popularhistoryof00nort_djvu.txt.

[2] 8th December 1833 – Fisherton street lighting « Salisbury, Wiltshire and Stonehenge

[3] The Popular History Of Old & New Sarum. T. J. Northy, Published by the Wiltshire County Mirror & Express Co. Ltd., 1897. Available digitally on the Internet Archive - URL: https://archive.org/stream/popularhistoryof00nort/popularhistoryof00nort_djvu.txt.

Last Post Next Post