Historic England save six of Harrogate's historic lamp posts with listed status

Victorian Lamposts, Montpellier Parade, Harrogate.18th December 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Victorian Lamposts, Montpellier Parade, Harrogate.18th December 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

A number of rare Victorian lamp-posts in Harrogate have been saved from removal after they were handed heritage protection by Historic England.

North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) first announced in 2014 that it would be replacing up to 900 of the town's old Victorian lamps after branding them a safety hazard.

However, Harrogate Civic Society have campaigned vehemently to save the historic lights, even proposing to convert them to modern electrical standards.

Henry Pankhurst, chairman of the society, launched a last-ditch bid to Historic England who have now given Grade II listed status to six of the lamp posts.

The six decorative cast-iron lamp posts, designed in 1848, are along Montpellier Parade and have been described by Historic England as "elegant additions" to the street.

Mr Pankhurst said: "We have now got the ability to keep them. They are genuinely Harrogate patterned ones, dating back to 1848, which gives them quite a lot of clout as a heritage item.

"Much of this detail from the casting has been lost under many years of grime and paint. But there is the Yorkshire Rose, tapered fluted columns, and many have a monkey’s head cast onto them.

“These street lamps contribute a great deal to the street scene. We can’t just throw the heritage away. It’s important - these lamps contribute to the style and age of the area.

“They are unique to Harrogate. English Heritage have totally accepted this - they don’t list lamp posts lightly.”

The lamp posts were originally gas-powered but have since been converted to electricity and given replacement lanterns.

Although they were moved to their current locations in the 1970s, the lamp posts are thought to be Victorian and relocated from elsewhere in the town.

However, the county council warned that the gas lamps were too dangerous to preserve and were not designed to function with electricity.

Many of the lights have been replaced with standard steel columns but the Civic Society proposed refurbishing the existing cast iron columns.

More than 1,000 places have been given protected status this year, with two in North Yorkshire making Historic England's list of the 21 most surprising and lesser known sites.

“Over 1,000 places have been added to the list in 2016, ensuring the most important sites across the country are recognised and protected,” said Roger Bowdler, director of listing at the Government body.

“Historic England strives to keep the list rich and relevant so that the best of our, often weird and wonderful, heritage can continue to be enjoyed and understood for future generations.”