Gas lamp

A gas lamp and post outside 24 Russell Street, Covent Garden. Credit: © Historic England Archive.

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Rare book dealer Tim Bryars and antiques dealer and author Luke Honey of The London Gasketeers, and working with the Victorian Society, have been campaigning to retain original gas lamps in central London.

The campaign was begun in 2021 when it emerged that Westminster Council planned to install LED lights to replace the historic gas lamps and stated it would create “like-for-like lanterns on non-listed lamp columns and gas effect LEDs that closely mirror the appearance of the original gas lights”.

The London Gasketeers was launched to campaign to ensure historic lights and lamps were not altered.

Last week Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay, Arts and Heritage Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), announced the listing of four gas lamps in Covent Garden.

Gas lamp supporters

Celebrations following news of the gas lamp listings: arts and heritage minister Lord Parkinson, Tim Bryars, Nickie Aiken MP, actor Simon Callow, Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson and Luke Honey. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA via © Historic England Archive.

The Grade II listing is a result of a pilot project by Historic England. Further listings are likely to follow. The four lampposts along Russell Street are part of a collection installed around Covent Garden in 1910 to mark the beginning of George V's reign.

The London Gasketeers said: “These are the first Westminster gas lamps to be listed in 40 years, a milestone in our grassroots campaign, and it provides a model for protecting the remaining handful of survivors.”

Gas lamp post

A gas lamp post outside 4-6 Russell Street, Covent Garden. Credit: © Historic England Archive.

Lord Parkinson said: “London's gas lamps have been an integral part of the city's identity for more than two centuries. From the novels of Dickens and Conan-Doyle to Mary Poppins and The Muppet Christmas Carol, they have provided an evocative backdrop to many of our capital's most cherished scenes and locations.”

Recently gas lamps have been reconnected by Westminster Council in Tavistock Street and Carlton House Terrace, a further sign of the committment to keeping the original lamps in the area.

Follow the London Gasketeers campaign via Twitter at @LondonGasketeer and Instagram @thelondongasketeers

Gas lamps in numbers

  • 305 gas lights in Westminster
  • 143 of these are listed