Webb patent lamp in Brincliffe Edge Road- still going strong in June 2008. Photo: A Cordwell
In 1895 Joseph Edmund Webb of Birmingham patented his Sewer Gas Destructor lamp, and then went on to improve it over a number of years. It was invented to solve a problem- that gas built up in sewers, and quite apart from the danger to personnel that this represented, if not released elsewhere it tended to leak out and create unpleasant odours.
Webb's solution was to design a lamp that burnt the sewer gas along with ordinary gas in a very hot flame, in a gas mantle. Sewer gas tended to build up in pockets, usually at a high spot on the sewer run. Most cities had these lamps, but Sheffield had 84 of them installed between 1915 and 1935; more than any other British city. The reason for this simple- that the hilly terrain of Sheffield produced more gas pockets than anywhere else!
This web page is about the Webb lamps of Sheffield, where they are and what their current state is. My intention is to photograph them all and add the photos to this page, but as I'm sure you'll appreciate, this is a time consuming task.
You can view a Microsoft Virtual Earth map showing the location of the lamps I've examined by clicking here (opens new browser window).