‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 29th June 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

The Gas Light problem

Isle of Wight Observer January 19, 1861

Last week a member of the Board call attention to the fact of several gas lamps being night after night not lighted, and we find it is one beyond dispute. In Union-street last Sunday night the lamp in front of some projecting fencing, where the new bank is in course of building, was not burning, although there was not a place in the whole street where a lamp was more required. In the neighbourhood of the Castle there were two lamps not burning; at the north end of Monkton-street two; in Melville-street one; and perhaps many other streets were in the same half-lighted condition. It is not our intention of laying the blame of the deliquent lamps at the feet of the Gas Company, we know better than that; the weather, of course, is the direct and only cause, but that nor the man in the moon has nothing to do with the quality of the gas. The gas is “unbearably inferior” a correspondent informs us in a long list of long standing grievances against the gas company forwarded to us for publication, but having such respect for the shareholders, who may quake for their dividends, we forbear giving publicity to any more than the foregoing short quotation. But in all seriousness the town ought to be better supplied with gas; from our first appearance as a newspaper in 1852, we have been tormented with a perfect avalanche of complaints from shopkeepers and their sympathisers, with this we have nothing to do, and such letters may find type elsewhere; but verily the town pays annually enough to have the public highways well lighted; if enough be not paid let the company declare it, and the Commissioners can carry out a clause in the Improvement Act of 1854. But according to the quantity and quality of the gas consumed, the price paid by the town ought to be sufficient to ensure good gas, as any one may judge, when it is known that the company receives £2 10s per quarter for 100 lamps, and £4 for 26; [sic]but it is right to state that they intend making a reduction for those recently unlighted.

Isle of Wight Observer November 22, 1862
STREET LAMPS – When Ryde was under the reign of fogyism and self-election, a contract was made with the gas company for the supply of lights of a certain size and brilliancy, and the said old fogies used to go round and see that the conditions were complied with, before the stipulated price was paid. Now, Ryde is under the system of elections and “energetic” men are elected, and the result is, the gas company gets their price, but there is neither the stipulated brilliancy nor size in the lights. The dark and gloomy state of the streets is absolutely disgraceful; and to pay the price our “energetic” men do is a barefaced robbery of the rates.

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