It is not clear when this public amenity was introduced, but the accounts for 1887 started with a balance of 2s 6d. and cost almost £17 in using 182 gallons of oil, for 157 nights of lighting, supported by forty village subscribers.
Members of this committee in 1895 were the Rev’d D Lamplugh, Dr Wood, Mr Charles Fletcher, Mr Killick, Mr W Galpin (Secretary) and Mr C Goodwin (Treasurer). For the previous seven years twelve lamps, distributed throughout the village, had been provided at an average cost of £ 1. 2s 6d. per lamp. This was made up of 8s. for oil and materials, 12s. for labour in lighting, and 2s 6d. for repairs.
At a meeting held on Monday 1st October, in the Parish Room in Swan Flats, it was resolved to erect five more lamps, on the following sights:- Two on Twyford Bridge, two along Hampstead Lane, and one on Hamstead Bridge. The cost of providing this parish facility was met by public subscription, and the cost of these new lamps was estimated to be about £ 16, and the new annual expenditure would be about £ 21.
An appeal was thus required to increase the number of subscribers which then stood at 28 people, with annual contributions ranging from £ 1 to 2s.
The number of subscribers was up to 39 in 1899 to cover the annual expenditure then of £ 18., so the costs had kept quite level since the scheme was started. In 1900 the expenditure recipients were Messrs Killick £ 4 15s. for oil, Allcorn for 3 new lamps 11s 6d., Crouch and Hall 7s. and 5s 10d. respectively for repairs, and Baseden £ 11 1s. for lighting lamps. At that time Rev. J R Leigh was Chairman, Mr Tippen was Hon. Treasurer, Mr C E Fletcher was Hon. Secretary, plus Dr Wood and Capt. Reid. Subscriptions were begining to fall and the committee considered whether to cease voluntary subscriptions and adopt the Lighting and Watching Act. It was decided to continue as before, although some lamps were in need of repair, and after going through the same process in 1901, it was again decided to continue whilst funds lasted, but no further records exist after this winter of 1901/02.
Our old village photographs show where some of these lamps were, but the only relic we still have is on Town Bridge.
This first picture shows the lamp on the corner of the Bric-a-brack barn, ie Coates, at that time Young's.
The second is on Town Bridge, with the church in background.