Historic lights in Eastbourne converted to electric 140 years after first installation

The mayor of Eastbourne turned on the lights in the Devonshire Park to mark 140 years since they were first installed.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 12:39 pm

Mayor Pat Rodohan switched on the lights along the east walk of Devonshire Park following their restoration.

New electric lights have been installed as part of a project between The Eastbourne Society and Eastbourne Borough Council.

The Eastbourne Society organised it and paid for the new globes. Eastbourne Borough Council paid for the work on the lamp posts including installation and wiring costs.

An illustration of the original lights. SUS-210914-120808001

In 2016 the historic lamp posts had to be removed to make way for the new tennis changing facilities building now built on the west side of Devonshire Park – one of the planning conditions was that they should be relocated.

It was agreed that five lamp posts would be erected on the east walk of Devonshire Park to recreate a colonnade effect similar to that which existed on the west side of the park in the 19th century.

Illustrated London News captured the sight of the lights in July 1881. At the time the report said ‘the Floral Hall and outside park were illuminated by arc lamps powered by two Siemens generators in the basement of the old Devonshire Baths’.

It said, “The Floral Hall - like a miniature Crystal Palace - wore the appearance of one of the enchanted palaces to be read of in the Arabian Nights.”

Illustrated London News in 1881