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Oil lamps – part of London’s identity is gradually being replaced

The kerosene street lamps lit up the streets in London (England) for hundreds of years, these lampposts have even become a feature of the capital of the land of fog. However, oil-fired street lamps are threatened to be replaced by electric lamps. A campaign to preserve this special legacy is underway. The City of Westminster, central London, decided to suspend the replacement of light bulbs in consultation with local residents.

A small walkway in central London has been bathed in the warm light of centuries-old oil-lit street lamps. There are less than 300 of these light poles left in the Westminster area. The lampposts that were once the symbol of London are gradually being replaced by LED lights.

Mr. Luke Honey – London Gasketeers Group said: “Oil lamps are part of London’s identity, they have been incorporated into television, film, and literary productions. London was one of the first cities in the world to have oil-lit street lamps at the turn of the century. 19, so they have become part of the city’s history and deserve to be preserved.”.

Oil lamps - part of London's identity is gradually being replaced - Photo 1.

For street shop owners where there are kerosene lamps like Mr. Tim Bryars, the use of electric lights to replace them may negatively affect business operations.

Mr. Tim Bryars – Antique book store owner said: “I think the existence of kerosene lamps is good for my business, people don’t come to London to see the monotony. Electric lights may be more convenient but when everything is the same life becomes easier. This neighborhood is the only place in London where specialty shops and kerosene lamps are part of its charm.”.

Westminster residents said the city government did not consult with them before starting to replace oil lamps with electric ones. The first reason the authorities give is that LEDs are more environmentally friendly, but oil lamp conservation campaigners have a different view.

Oil lamps - part of London's identity is gradually being replaced - Photo 2.

According to Mr. Luke Honey – London Gasketeers Group: “Emissions from kerosene lamps are very small. We calculated and found that a restaurant outdoor heater emits 10 times more emissions than a Victorian kerosene lamp.”.

Another argument for the replacement of oil lamps is that lamp posts more than 200 years old are difficult to maintain due to the scarcity of replacement parts.

Mr. Joe Fuller – Area Manager, British Petroleum Company confirmed: “We have a lot of replacement parts. There is a warehouse in Battersea. Glass parts are still manufactured, even straight glass. We have maintained and repaired oil lamp poles for many years and still have a full range of replacement parts suitable for all lamps.”

Westminster City Council replaced 10% of its kerosene lamps with LEDs before the project was halted for local comment, with a final conclusion expected by the end of the year. Campaigners are optimistic about the future of the remaining lampposts because they have enough arguments to convince the government to keep this important legacy in London’s history and culture.

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