|Perhaps the company’s greatest display of street
lighting took place in 1866 when Queen Victoria unveiled the
statue of Prince Albert in Queen Square. The following
description is from the Wolverhampton Journal.
Gas lighting in Queen Square in the late
1900s. Courtesy of Eardley Lewis.
|Countless thousands of people were in the town in
the evening to witness the illuminations in honour of the
Queen's visit, and many of the designs, and the manner in which
they were carried out, were generally admired. Never in the
history of Wolverhampton had the streets presented so brilliant
and splendid an appearance. Not merely to the principal
thoroughfares were the illuminations confined, but in every
street of the least importance was to be seen a good variety of
gas devices, Chinese lanterns, and other brilliancies.
| Immense crowds of people were parading about till
a late hour, viewing, with evident amazement and delight, the
glittering objects that met their gaze; and in Dudley Street the
concourse of people passing up and down was occasionally so
great that the roadway was completely blocked. It would be
fruitless to attempt to describe the array of dazzling splendor
which blazed forth on every side; but we might mention. that
Dudley Street, Queen Street, Cock Street, the High Green, and
other thoroughfares were illuminated with great taste, expense
in the reception of Royalty not being even thought of.
Albert's statue today.
Ornate gaseliers that were made by Ready &
Son, of Bilston Street, on display at the Wolverhampton
industrial exhibition of 1869.
|Many of the devices were so arranged as to have a
most charming effect. Messrs. Chubb's establishment, near the
carriage drive to the High Level Station, presented a very
pretty and novel aspect, the whole of the windows having the
appearance of being filled in with Diaphane, whilst in the front
of the premises were some very pretty gas designs.
The illuminated representation of Her Majesty, supported on
either side by the Prince and Princess of Wales, and the Prince
and Princess Christian, which was displayed over the entrance to
Mr. Walker's liquor vaults, in Cock Street, was universally
The chief illuminations in this street were those in front of
the County Court, and comprised the following devices: In the
centre of the pediment, below the flag trophy, was a large star,
and below this a coronation crown surmounted by the Prince of
Wales's plume, with the initials V.R. and A.A. on either side; a
large Brunswick star was fixed over the principal entrance, and
the initials V.R. at the top of the gates at each end. The Post
Office exhibited an Alexandra star with the initials A.A. in the
centre, and V.R. on each side. The Athenaeum displayed a large
brilliancy, a Brunswick star, which was very attractive. A
pretty device, the rose, shamrock, and thistle, and a star, were
exhibited by Mr. Sanders. Returning to the other side of the
County Court, Gibbs Brothers had a device, an anchor and chain;
from there to Mr. Langman's was a succession of stars and jets
but in front of the house last named, the uniformity was broken
by a Brunswick star with a Staffordshire knot and V.R.
One of the gas lamps in Queen Square in
about 1890. Courtesy of Eardley Lewis.
Gas lamps in Lichfield Street in the early
1880s during rebuilding. A gentleman can be seen at work on the
example on the far left.
|From corner of Market Street to corner of Dudley
Street there was a succession of stars with a line of blazing
jets, except in front of Sir. Pearce and Mr. Tustin's premises,
where a large V.R. was displayed, and Mr. Hands had a large star
and V.R. On the opposite side of the street Mr. Richards had a
handsome star and crown, flanked with V.R. Here, too, a
succession of stars and jets lightened up the street. Mr.
Rowland showed a large shield, and from here to the end of the
street the devices were chiefly V.R.s and stars.
This was one of the best illuminated streets, and presented a
long flood of Light of dazzling brilliancy. The most
effective was the illumination in front of the premises of
Mr. G. L. Underhill, who had an Alexandra star about eight
feet high, with a V.R. of equal proportions. Messrs. Andrews
had four large brilliancies representing the Brunswick star
and garter. Mr. McGregor displayed a crown and V.R.
surrounded by a radiated device. Mr. Masters lighted up a
large shield; Mr. Baker, large centre star and jets; Mr.
Lord the monogram A.A. At the opposite corner, Messrs.
Bradshaw had a V.R., and from there along the premises of
Mr. Tolfree and Mr. Shaw were a succession of stars. Mr.
Giles and Mr. Langman had a star and V.R., of large
dimensions. In front of the Red Cow Inn was a large crown,
and Mr. Devereux, at the adjoining inn, had a V.R. and large
star in the centre. Mr. Perry, a crown, and Mr. Benjamin a
handsome crown flanked by a V.R. of large proportions.
Ornate gas lighting at the Art and
Industrial Exhibition of 1902.
| A large crown and the Royal initials were
shown on the fronts of Mr. Banks and Mr. Walker. The other large
devices in this locality were a V.R. and crown in the centre at
Mr. Parke's; at Mr. Lloyd's a Prince of Wales’ plume and stars;
Mr. Leary had a large star; Mr. Neale, V.R. and Prince of Wales’
plume over the King Street window.
Lighting in Gas Yard, Horseley Fields.
It was named after the nearby gasworks.
The illuminations here, like the decorations, were upon a
very extensive scale, and excited general admiration. At the
Swan Hotel was a crown of large dimensions; Mr. Fleeming, V.R.
of large size, separated by a crown; Mr. Davenport, V.R. with
large star in the centre; on the liquor vaults at the opposite
corner, a V.R. and a fleur-de-lis with motto, "Ich dien" Mr.
Cope, a star; Mr. Dawson, Prince of Wales' plume and crown; Mr.
Walker, V.R., with the rose, shamrock, and thistle intervening.
The Bilston District Bank had a neat illumination comprising a
star and jets
Messrs. Sidney and Son, V.R. and star in the centre, above, a crown
surmounted by a star; Messrs. Sollorn and Wootton, each a transparency
of an attractive character.
Mr. Frantz, a star; Messrs. Lowe, V.R. with a crown; Mr. Shoolbred,
V.R.; Garnett Brothers, crown and star; Mr. Plank, a crown; Warner
Brothers, V.R.; Mr. Wright, a large star; Mr. Jones and Mr. J. Steen,
each various neat designs.
The Old Churchyard
The chief illuminations here were at the Bank, and consisted
of a Royal crown with the letters V.R. and two stars in gas.
There were also some very pretty Chinese lanterns arranged
underneath, and a number of coloured lamps. Over the entrance porch of
the Collegiate Church was a device representing the Crossed Keys of St.
Peter, surmounted by the initial P.
An advert from the 1930s.
Among the principal illuminations here were the following:
Alderman Hawksford, a large star and the monogram V.R.; the
Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Company, a large star;
Deakin and Dent, V.R., of large size and a star; Mr. Lovatt,
V.R., surmounted by a crown; Mr. Horsman, a star and other
decorations; Mr. Cooke, V.R. and a star; Mr. Clear, A.A.,
surmounted by a device; Mr. Roebuck, V.R. and a crown.
The following were some of the principal illuminations: Mr.
Chittoe, threw devices; Mr. Nendick, A.A., with large star;
Mr. Weaver, a line of jets; the Midland Bank, a very
handsome and expensive illumination; undoubtedly the most
attractive in the street; consisting of three crystal stars
of large size surmounted by a crown; Mr. Tunnicliffe, V.R.,
a star, and lustres with wax candles. Messrs, Ironmonger
exhibited a brilliant Brunswick star.
Another advert from the 1930s.
Worcester Street and Road
Among those worthy of notice was Mr. Tyler's, the letters
V.R. and a crown; Mr. Hamp had a neat device; Mr. Smith, a transparency;
St. Paul's Terrace was very effectively lighted up with a row of jets
the entire length of the terrace, and other devices, coloured lamps were
also suspended from the trees. There were several others of minor
At the entrance to the Exchange Buildings was a star and
crown; at Mr. Hampton's liquor vaults, a plume of feathers, enriched and
flanked by two stars; at the office of the Clerk of the Peace were the
letters V.R. and two stars; at Mr. Cooling's was a small crown, V.R.,
and a plume of feathers, and ranged on each side were several similar
The Town Hall, being an official building, was, of course,
the chief point of attraction in this street. Across the front
ran the words, "God Save the Queen," in very large characters,
and above was the monogram V.R., surmounted by a large crown;
Mr. H. Willcock exhibited the letters V.R., surmounted by a
star, with surroundings; at the headquarters of the Fourth
Battalion of Volunteers was "4th S.R.V.," in large letters, and
the Overseers, who occupy the same building, had the: monogram
V.R. with a star. Mr. Riley exhibited a crystal star with ruby
cross in the centre. Mr. R. Jessop, lower down the street,
showed a star.
The illuminations here were very numerous. Messrs. Corser and
Fowler exhibited a Staffordshire knot and a star; in front of the
Library was the fleur-de-lis. At nearly all the private houses in this
road were illuminations of some kind, as Chinese lanterns, gas jets,
coloured lamps suspended from the trees, coloured fires burnt, etc. Mr.
Fuller exhibited a handsome crystal star with St. George's cross in the
Stafford Street and Road
The devices in this street worthy of notice were at the
Elephant and Castle Inn, consisting of a large star flanked with the
initials V.R., and surrounded with other adornments, and a star over the
doorway of the Black Horse. At the Railway Sheds five stars were ranged
along the front, the centre one being seven feet in height.
This street was very prettily illuminated, not only
by gas devices but by Chinese lanterns, etc., strung across the
streets in several places. Among the more, noticeable features
were V.R. over the Lamb Inn; a star over Mr. F. Ruby's; a crown,
flanked by the letters V.R., at Mr. Fryer's Bank; a star and the
letters V.R. over Mr. Stanton's; and a crown, flanked by V.R.,
over the entrance to the Noah's Ark Inn.
The principal illumination in this street was over
the doorway of the Castle Inn, and consisted of a plume of
In front of the Chronicle and Express offices were
some handsome illuminations; they consisted of a large
crown, flanked by the letter V.R. and two stars.
An advert from the 1940s.
At the manufactory of Ready and Son was a large crown and
star, surrounded by flags and other adornments, flanked by the letters
V.R., and under this was the word "Welcome," flanked by two smaller
stars. The Concert Hall came next, and besides the ordinary Prince of
Wales' plume, there were two devices; a crown and star. There were also
stars over Mr. Skidmore's and Messrs. Forder and Traves; Cozens and Co.
showed a large crown.
The chief illuminations here were at the Police Station,
there was a large crown, having a small star on either side, and the
words "Welcome to the Prince and Princess Christian" at the Garrick's
Head Inn was exhibited a Prince of Wales' plume, with the motto, "Ich
dien". Over the entrance to the Old Hall works were three stars.
Mr. Corns, at the corner of Cleveland Street, had a star
and V.R.; Mr. Denton displayed a large Alexandra star, with the
letters V.R. on either side. The Agricultural Hall was also
illuminated with a regal crown and V.R.; Mr. York had a pretty
device, consisting of a Brunswick star. On Mr. Davies's premises
were the letters V.R. and a star. There was also a large star at
St. George's Hall.
Some of the illuminations here were very good; in front of
the Peacock hotel was a large star and V.R., and at Mr.
Barnett's, opposite, was a crown and star; Mr. Holiday had a neat device
consisting of a crown ornamented with variegated lamps.
The principal illumination in this thoroughfare was at the
Shakespeare Foundry; it consisted of a regal crown, surmounting the
Staffordshire knot, and flanked by the letters V.R., underneath which,
stretching to some length, were the words, "Long Live Her Gracious
Majesty." Messrs. Rogers, in Union Street, had a large crystal star with
V.R. and motto; in Mill Street, a large and effective device over Mr.
Norton's Mill, consisted of a Prince of Wales' plume and two large
stars. Returning to Horseley Fields, Moreton and Co. had a Brunswick
star; Langley and Co. a crown and V.R.; at St. James's Vicarage, a star;
Bamford Brothers had a large crown and V.R., and many others exhibited
sundry devices of less magnitude.
We may add that the gas consumed on the occasion amounted to the
enormous quantity of one million fourteen thousand cubic feet, supplied
from the two stations of the Wolverhampton Gas Company.