OLDER lights around St Mary's Parish
Church in the centre of Nantwich were removed and replaced with
At first, I thought it was
a shame to see examples of Nantwich history being lost and
replaced with some modern, shiny silver alternatives.
I was sure
the old lights were Victorian. However, an old 8mm
cinefilm I made about the church back in 1960s reassured me they
couldn't be much older than the early 1970s. A frame from the film
(right) shows one of the lamps in situ in 1967 -
a much more modern looking lamp than the ones that have just been
Having learned more
about the reasons for the change, I was sure there wasn't anything to
worry about. The lamps in the Well in particular, I learned, were
rusted at the base and so, presumably, at risk of falling on some
passer-by - with the inevitable compensation claim.
Also, the lamps
had developed a fault which meant they couldn't be turned off! and
had to be disconnected when necessary.
Next, I was assured
that once the lights had been
fully installed they would be "aged" to
make them in keeping with others in the town centre area.
already a number of lights around the perimeter of the churchyard
which had been in place for a while - as shown by the peeling black
As long as the new lights
are the same style as those, everything would be well.
BY COINCIDENCE, while I was researching
the story, Darren McDean (calling himself "True Dabber") sentme an e-mail asking: "Am I the
only person who's concerned by the introduction of new lighting and
removal of the old style lampposts
around the church? "I think it's disgusting what the
council are doing in the conservation area."
I e-mailed him back,
telling him what I had heard, and a happier Darren replied:
"It sounds good that they're going to 'age' the posts."
He sent me a another
picture illustrating a gripe he
had with the changes. This showed where a trench had been
between two old gravestones in the south-east corner of the
churchyard. He assumed it was for the mains cable, adding: "Not very
I didn't know what,had happened, so I couldn't comment
The old and the new
. . . foreground, one of the 1970s light that used to stand in the
Well. In the distance, one of the lights erected near to the Market
kits will make the new lights look very similar to, if not the same
as, the lights that have been removed"
Griffies, the Assistant Parks Manager, in the Direct Services of
Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council, about the final look of the
lights and what had brought about the need for their
replacement. He said:
needed renewing because they were being constantly targeted by
vandals due (we felt) to the fact that they are only
approximately four metres high. Also, the feed to the lights had
reached the end of its life, meaning that the electricians could
not maintain an earth feed into the columns. Then there is the
on-going deterioration which you have already discussed in your
The positioning of the new lights, and all the on-site work, was
done following consultation, and agreement with the Rev Peter
Chantry (then Rector of Nantwich).
The lamps that
have been installed are only the base support; they still have
to have “dressing kits” which will make them look very similar,
if not the same as, the lights that have been removed. The
lights will not be identical with one of the main differences
being that the new ones will be 1.5 metres higher to prevent a
reoccurrence of the vandalism, whilst reducing glare from the
The new lights
will have better lanterns and light assemblies to enable the
light given off to cast further, and this also means that the
lights will conform to a recognised European standard. The new
lights will be standard “units” meaning that any maintenance
should be simplified with all parts being off the shelf as
opposed to a special order.
contractor has assured me that the lights will
be fully installed and working in 4 to 6 weeks. This doesn’t
mean you shouldn’t be seeing anything going on in the interim,
although it is dependant on the weather for painting and
Scottish Power for the new electrical connection into the feeder
All of these
factors should help to “light the way” for the people using the
paths around the church during the hours of darkness.
As a side
point, I found out that the lights were installed in
1976, and this project was overseen by one of the officers still
employed in Direct Services. The lights were only part of an
overall improvement package that was carried out around the
church at that time.