Gas Street Lamps Light Up Christchurch’s Streets – 24th December 1864

On 24 December 1864, Christchurch’s first gas powered street lights flickered to life.

The first ever street lamp was erected in Market Place (now known as Victoria Square) in 1862 and was powered by kerosene. The following year the Christchurch Gas Company opened and by 1876, 152 gas street lights lit up the city. By 1913, the number had jumped to 1335.

By 1915, the Lake Coleridge Hydroelectric Works began to supply electricity to Christchurch. In 1918 the gas supply was turned off completely – with only 59 gas lights still struggling on against progress.

Christchurch’s last and still remaining gas street light (pictured) is in front of The Canterbury Club on Cambridge Terrace – accompanied by a hitching post once used for tying up horses. Its service to the city began in 1900. In 1995 it was converted to electric but in 1999, the lamp was back chuffing away on gas.

* Image courtesy of Chris Bulovic*

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