Concern for London’s gas lamps

Posted: 12 October 2022

The London Gasketeers, a group committed to seeing the preservation of the historic gas lamps of London’s West End, under threat of conversion to replica LEDs by Westminster City Council, have shared with Historic Buildings & Places (HB&P) the following message highlighting their campaign:

Westminster City Council is pushing ahead with plans to convert its last 250 historic working gas lamps to LED. Conversion, so far, has meant removing and discarding the lantern and everything on top of the post; bracket lamps have been replaced completely. The London Gasketeers are campaigning to keep the original gas lights shining, working with the Victorian Society and concerned individuals including Dan Cruickshank, Griff Rhys Jones and Simon Callow.  Replicas aren’t the answer. There are tours of Westminster by gaslight, and people are drawn to the distinctive Dickensian glow of the real thing, close to the spot where this form of revolutionary street lighting was unveiled in 1807. The lamps use minimal amounts of gas (we estimate that the Westminster lights use less gas than 40 typical patio heaters, and account for just 0.013% of overall Westminster carbon emissions). There are also growing concerns that the rush to install LED lighting across Europe could be potentially harmful to human health and wildlife. The council has cited safety concerns, but the brightness of the lamps can readily be adjusted and there is no shortage of spares or skills to maintain them indefinitely. Gas lamps are being restored and maintained by authorities outside London (Malvern being a bright example) and here in Westminster the lamps have just been restored at St Paul’s Covent Garden, as well as at Westminster Abbey. It’s perfectly possible – if WCC can be encouraged to listen.”

As one of the amenity societies, HB&P are particularly concerned with the Council’s approach to removing listed gas streetlamps or those that are attached to listed buildings, and whether work has already taken place to remove some without appropriate consent from Historic England. We are awaiting the Council’s forthcoming public consultation.

Find out more about The London Gasketeers on Instagram @thelondongasketeers, or by emailing or