History in Structure

Sewer Gas Lamp

A Grade II Listed Building in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside

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Latitude: 55.048 / 55°2'52"N

Longitude: -1.4463 / 1°26'46"W

OS Eastings: 435473

OS Northings: 572751

OS Grid: NZ354727

Mapcode National: GBR LBB2.N7

Mapcode Global: WHD4K.RCGZ

Plus Code: 9C7W2HX3+6F

Entry Name: Sewer Gas Lamp

Listing Date: 19 January 2012

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1405390

ID on this website: 101405390

Location: Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear, NE26

County: North Tyneside

Electoral Ward/Division: Monkseaton North

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Whitley Bay

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Tyne and Wear

Church of England Parish: Tynemouth St Paul, Cullercoats

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Tagged with: Sewer gas destructor lamp

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Whitley Bay


One of ten surviving Sewer gas lamps erected in the Whitley Bay and Monkseaton areas between 1900 and 1910.


Sewer gas lamp, early C20.

The standard is of fluted cast iron with a curved glass lantern; the latter has lost one pane of glass. The lantern is supported by four ornamental brackets and it has a high valve to the domed canopy; there is a ladder rest at the top, which also supports the hinged top of the hood when open for cleaning or maintenance. The lamp has a cast-iron base plate reading: 'J.E.WEBBS PATENT SEWER GAS DESTRUCTOR' and 'WEBB LAMP Co. LIMITED POULTRY'. The lantern head bears the name 'SUGG'.


This lamp is one of 17 Sewer Gas Lamps erected in the Whitley Bay and Monkseaton areas between 1900 and 1910 of which 10 survive. The following description of their purpose and design is taken from "The History of Monkseaton Village’ by Local Historian Charlie Steel.

"In the 1890s, Joseph Edmund Webb, a builder from Birmingham, invented and patented his sewer gas destructor lamp, and later formed the Webb Engineering Company. Within ten years of their introduction, these lamps were found all over England and in many other parts of the world. Old sewers were often badly laid out and poorly vented, so there was always a danger of disease (or even explosion) from methane and fetid stagnant gases, which could build up in the system. The lamps, which were connected to the ordinary town gas supply, were installed at high points in the system and were coupled directly to the underground sewer. They were usually lit by three mantles, which were rarely extinguished. The burning mantles created an intense heat within the hood, leading to an updraught, which drew air from the sewer through a copper tube inside the column; the sewer gas was therefore harmlessly burned off, thus converting the methane into Carbon Dioxide before being released into the atmosphere. One lamp was capable of venting an area of up to three quarters of a mile of sewer’.

Reasons for Listing

This C20 sewer gas lamp is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: although gas lamps were once common features of our street scenes they are increasingly rare and those combined with sewer vents are rarer still.
* Intactness: this is an intact example with a complete glass lantern.
* Design quality: not withstanding its humble nature, this is an attractive gas standard with a fluted cast-iron base and ornamental brackets.
* Group value: this is one of a small group of ten intact sewer gas lamps in the Monkseaton and Whitley Bay area.
* Technological: it illustrates a technology which once transformed everyday existence, and its contribution to the public realm was considerable.

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