Special Lighting District, 1896

A story which happened in Blantyre exactly 127 years ago tonight. On Thursday 5th November 1896, Blantyre became a special lighting district. What this essentially meant, was that although there were gas street lights in some places already in Blantyre, the responsibility and running of the street lighting, was passed officially over to Council authorities rather than public bodies.

It was a big change, one which would impact tax payers, though largely welcomed as Blantyre significantly extended its network of street lighting. On that dark, November evening the Committee and members of Blantyre Parish Council met at Bardykes Road at the junction of Broompark Road and Hunthill Road. This was to be an opening ceremony, inaugurating further new street lighting of the district.

Mr Hastie, the Contractor presented Mr Craig the County Councillor with a handsome walking stick. Mr Craig lit three lamps at that T junction, which at the intersection represented one lit lamp at each of Bardykes, Hunthill and Stonefield divisions. The duty of lighting the rest of the lamps then fell to two awaiting lamp lighters. Then everybody went back to Mr Blackley’s hall at Broompark Road where officials celebrated further with a dinner. (I hope the lamp lighters got invited too!)

I can only imagine what it would have been like attending this little ceremony. Turning Blantyre’s dark streets into light at nighttime. It would have been much welcomed and recognised as making Blantyre lighter, brighter and safer.

AI imagines this story in an imaginative way realistic to the era.

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