Street Lighting: from then to now.

The streets of Britain and indeed countries across the world, have been lit up for hundreds of years now. From the earliest forms of candle lighting, to the bright electric lights that we are so familiar with in the modern age, we are going to be taking you through the history of street lighting, right up to today.

It all started back in 4th century, in the Turkish town of Antioch. This city used the basic candle lighting that was used around the world for many years after. At this time, a lamplighter would walk around the city at dusk, ensuring that every single lamp is alight. Some historians state that the city of London first brought in lighting across the city in 1417, following the orders of Sir Henry Barton, Mayor of London.

The next major step in street lighting would be in the early 1790s, when William Murdoch first used his discovery of coal gas, to create light in his own home. It wouldn’t be until 1807, that the first public use of this lighting form was implemented, in London. From this moment, gas lighting started to be used in other countries around the world, including in the USA. Throughout time, oil gas lamps would also be introduced.

Fast forward to 1875 and street lighting methods, changed forever. The Russian, Pavel Yablochkov, developed the technology which would be used for the first ever electric street lights. These lights are known as Arc Lamps, and were initially christened, the Electric Candle. This lighting used an alternating current, which ensured that both electrodes were consumed at equal rates. In 1878, Arc Lamps were first rolled out on the streets on Paris.

The first use of incandescent lightbulb street lighting, was in our own region. In 1879, Newcastle upon Tyne became the first city in the world to be fully lit up by lighting! Later in time, the use of this lighting was replaced widely by high-intensity discharge lamps.

This takes us up to the present day, and the types of lighting that we are familiar with dealing with on a regular basis. Streets tend to still be lit up by high intensity discharge lamps. A type of street lighting that we work on and can provide, is LED lighting. This form of lighting is great for saving energy. While LED lighting is still in the early stages of becoming an addition to all streets, it seems that it really is the future!

At Harvey Electrical Services, we are proud to be lighting up streets across the North East. We ensure our installations and repairs are carried out to the highest of standards. Did you know, we are part P registered with NAPIT. Plus, all of our parts and labour come with a full 12 month guarantee!

For information on the work we carry out relating to street lighting, visit: or call us on 01325 249294.

Request a Callback
Harvey Electrical Services