The Lighting of Glossop's Streets.

Towards the end of the 1850s a number of matters of a civic nature were prominent in the minds of the inhabitants of Glossop. Highway repairs and water supplies were prominent, there was a movement aimed at making Glossop a parliamentary borough and an attempt to form a Glossop Rifle Corps. The most pressing, though, was the lighting of the streets with gas. At least then, even if the streets remained muddy and uneven, people could see their way past hazards.

The first edition of the Glossop Record, published on 2 July 1859, contained the following letter:
Light or Darkness Next Winter
To the Editor of the Record for Glossop, &c.
Sir.—The town of Glossop has greatly advanced within the last few years. Its manufactories have been largely extended—its population has been doubled—its public thoroughfares have been much improved—additions have been made to the number of its streets. Hundreds of houses have been built, and some of a superior class. An elegant Town Hull and commodious Market House have been erected. And altogether, with its handsome square and beautiful shops, the town presents an active and thriving appearance. Gas Works have been established—Water Works have been formed; and on all sides progress is visible. Its Railway Station and Warehouse, filled with bags, bales, and packages, give to the town an air of importance. It is a seat of Justice, having its Petty Sessions and its county court—its streets are perambulated by peace officers in uniform—its postal business occupies two carriers. It has two Churches and nine Chapels. It can boast of its Athenaeum Club—its Literary Institutions—and its Reform Associations. It has been brought under notice as having a very superior claim to be constituted a borough to return a member of Parliament. Its residents comprise a noble Lord, several very rich manufacturers, a large body of highly respectable shopkeepers, and thousands of industrious and intelligent operatives; with a due proportion of professional men. But after all it is a dark place on a winter's night. Its streets—although every appliance is at hand—are not lighted. It is proverbial for its private enterprise, to which alone it owes its progress; but not less proverbial for its lack of public spirit, which does not seem to be equal to the putting up of a hundred lamp posts. It is to hoped this reproach will soon be wiped away, and that the objection may not scornfully be thrown back upon the parties applying for its enfranchisement—that not having public spirit enough to give the place, at night, the comfort of a town, the inhabitants have no pretentions to the exercise of a Borough Franchise.—I am, Sir, your humble servant, Publicus.
Glossop June 30th, 1859.

When nothing happened immediately, the Record followed up with this leader column on 20 August 1859:
Dreary Winter is approaching; but no steps have yet been taken to lesson its dreariness, or to render it more agreeable to the inhabitants of Glossop by lighting the streets with gas. Men, women, or children, who may have occasion to traverse the place after the sun has gone down, and when the moon does not reflect his brightness, must either grope their way in the dark or carry with them a lantern—one of the lingering relies of past times, only now to be seen in some insignificant village, or in a town lacking in public spirit, and behind the age in the march of improvement. The streets of the small towns of Buxton, Bakewell, Alfreton, &c., are lighted during the winter season; and the people can leave their dwellings, when the sun has disappeared below the horizon, without fear of coming into bodily collision with their neighbours, stumbling over stones, or plunging into mire : while the streets of Glossop, which town is five times larger than any of these, and very much more wealthy, are enveloped in darkness. This fact is not very creditable to a town, claiming to be the second in the county—in population and importance—and aspiring to the rank of a parliamentary borough! Though disparaging comparisons may fail to awaken public spirit in Glossop, the comfort of the inhabitants ought to produce some effect. During the winter months, after the night has set in,—and again before the day has begun to dawn,— nearly 6,000 persons have to pass through the streets from and to their employment in different directions, without a light to cheer their path, or to show them where stones may obstruct the way, or the scrapings of the streets have been deposited. After what are known as “mill hours”, many parsons have necessarily to visit the shops, to purchase provisions or articles of clothing; and the streets are then more frequented for business than during the day. The absence of light in the thoroughfares is a great inconvenience to such persons; and, probably, not very much to the interest of shopkeepers.
On the Sunday evenings, those who attend public worship have to find their way through mud and dirt, as they best can ; and not a few who would attend are prevented from doing so, owing to the dreariness and cheerlessness outside their dwellings. The police who perambulate the place at night, do so under great disadvantage, for want ff adequate light ; and, in case of any disturbance or felony, might have great difficulty in securing or capturing offenders. Great praise is undoubtedly due to them for the manner in which they discharge their duties, ill a town in which darkness affords facilities for mischief and crime. The question naturally arises, how is it that Glossop abides in darkness? It cannot be that the inhabitants love darkness rather than light, as this is only the case with a class of men in which, we are happy to say, Glossop does not abound. It cannot be that they are insensible to the proverb—“light is pleasant to the eye”. The reason that has been assigned is “an unwillingness to bear the expense” — that it is not light that is objectionable, but the paying for it. We cannot, however, think that the people in general are unwilling to pay the small additional sum which, alone, would be needed to wipe away the reproach of an “unlighted town” and to afford comfort during the nights of winter. About 120 lamps would suffice. The first outlay, it is said, would be about £300, and the subsequent cost about £300 per annum, which are not large sums to be paid by a population of 14,000 persons, inhabiting 2,500 houses. The probability is that 1s. 3d. annually, for each cottage—other property paying in the same proportion—would fully meet the case. If we are wrong in these figures, we shall be willing to give insertion to any well-grounded corrections. His Grace the late Duke of Norfolk, who took great interest in the welfare of the town, and to whom it is indebted for its public buildings, was desirous that the town should be lighted; and. with his wonted munificence, offered to bear a considerable portion of the first outlay, and to give a handsome yearly contribution towards the current expenses. The generous offer of His Grace did not meet with a cordial response : partly because the lighting of the town by private subscription was not deemed a satisfactory method of accomplishing the object, and partly from other causes. A few of the principal rate payers were consulted. as to the desirability of lighting the town by a rate upon the inhabitants ; but this plan found no favour, and the project was abandoned. The sense of the town has not been taken in relation to the subject. An Act of Parliament is in existence which gives to the inhabitants of a town or village within a prescribed boundary, subject to a given majority of votes in favour of the object, the power of lighting the streets within such boundary by public rate, to extend so far as the benefit is enjoyed. It is certainly time the sense of the inhabitants of Glossop should be taken, by public meeting, Whether or not the streets shall be lighted. What is wanted, are a few public-spirited men who will bring the subject before the ratepayers, and obtain their decision upon it. As the lighting of a town is considered to be an advantage rather to persons than to property, it has been said that manufactories ought to be rated on a very reduced scale for such an object, otherwise a large proportion of the expense, in Glossop, would fall upon a few manufacturers. This is a question that will have to be settled before the lighting of the town can be effected, as a determined opposition from the manufacturers would probably be successful against the measure, should they be of opinion that mills ought not to be taxed, or only on a reduced scale, for the lighting of the town. Having introduced the subject, we shall willingly afford space for the discussion of the general topic, and, whether house property ought to bear a higher rate for such an object than any other kind of property, or whether an exemption in whole or in part ought to be made in favour of mill property.

Further letters in support of lighting were published by the newspaper during the following two months before both the Record, and the Glossop-dale Chronicle, of 12 November 1859 carried advertisements for a public meeting to be held at the Norfolk Arms on 16 November at 8pm. The call for the meeting arose from a meeting of a few promoters of lighting held at the Norfolk Arms on 9th November, when it was determined to seek the opinion of the inhabitants on the question.

Both the Glossop Record and the Glossop Chronicle were strongly in favour of lighting and published leader columns expressing their opinions.
Glossop Record 12 November 1859
Light in our streets.
We are glad to see that preliminary steps are bring taken towards lighting the town of Glossop with gas, and hope that they will lead to a successful issue. It is very greatly to the reproach of the town that its streets should have been suffered so long to remain in darkness ; but it may, perhaps, have been in part occasioned by the absence of local authorities whose business it would have been to take the initiative. A few public-spirited persons have at length originated a movement, which, we trust, will meet with a general response. A facetious lady, who was some time ago in the habit of visiting Glossop, said that “no person ought to visit the place during the winter season, without being provided with a good lantern and a strong pair of stilts”. The remark is not without force. The main roads have been greatly improved, but darkness still covers the town at night; and, in some side streets, stilts would scarcely suffice to rise beyond the mud with which they are covered. The villages of Hayfield and New Mills are in advance of Glossop in the matter of lighting. If the object is not taken up with spirit and carried out, Glossop will be pointed at with the finger of scorn and will become a hissing and a bye-word throughout the country, as preferring money to comfort or to the lessening of facilities for crime. The movement has our best wishes, and shall receive our cordial support. We are concerned for the honour of our thriving and industrious town. We desire that within its precincts the men who love darkness rather than light may find no place for the commission of evil deeds. We wish those whose business calls them into the streets at night may walk as safely, and securely and comfortably, as in the day.
Glossop Chronicle 12 November 1859
Do the inhabitants of Glossop love darkness rather than light? If they do, why? Assuredly not because their deeds are evil, for we are told by judges in these matters that crime is as low an ebb here as in any part of the country. But do they love darkness? We verily believe not. They love light in their homes, light in their workshops, and may we not add light in the streets? In any improvement there must be a beginning somewhere. There must be a prime mover, but no one has taken the initiative in this matter of lighting our streets until very lately. On Wednesday evening last a few of the friends of light met at the Norfolk Arms to consult as to the best method of bringing this about, when it was thought expedient that a general meeting of all that are favourable to the movement should be held next week. No doubt the subject will be well canvassed, as it is a question of L s d. The people of Glossop like their pockets and are loath to touch the button except when a good case can be made out, and then they go to work heartily and cheerfully. If the friends of this movement will set about it in earnest, difficulties will speedily be overcome and opposition vanquished. They must however be prepared to withstand opposition as doubtless some will think that we have managed hitherto without the lamp posts, and can do so in the future; others will scout the proposition as an innovation but the principal objection will be founded on the costs. We shall not however be in any worse condition in this respect than other places There are towns or rather villages of not more than three or four thousand inhabitants, whose streets are lighted with gas and why ought we to be groping in the dark. We hope our friends who think that the time has come when our beautiful town should be illuminated with gas will make a point of attending the meeting on Wednesday next.

The meeting on the 16th November was unanimously in favour of lighting the streets with gas, the main question being which legal powers should be adopted to enable it. Some argued in favour of adopting the Local Government Act (or Local Improvement Act) of 1858, which gave power not only to light the streets with gas but also powers to erect public baths and washhouses level, drain, and cleanse the streets, remove all nuisances, and supersede the existing management of the highways. Others argued that the Lighting and Watching Act 1833 (3rd and 4th of Wm. IV), which gave powers for lighting only, would be sufficient – and cheaper. It was decided that a committee shoud be formed and that, prior to raising the subject at a vestry meeting, a public meeting should be held in the Town Hall, to test the opinion of the inhabitants and discuss the question in full. Appointed as committee were:- Rev. Thomas Atkin, Messrs John France, J. Bennett, T. M. Ellison, J. Brooks, C. J. Hadfield, W. W. Howard, J. Handforth, F. Hawke, C. Collier, J. Woodcock, J. Lawton and J. Hampson.

When the committee met, on the following Monday, they decided to go ahead under the 1833 Act. They also unanimously agreed that the lighting should extend to the boundaries of the market town, (a radius of one mile from the town hall) except on the Manchester-road, which should be lighted as far as the boundary of the Glossop Union, namely, as far as Woolleybridge.

The decision of which legislation to use exposed the political difference between the two local newspapers. The Record was of the opinion that using the 1833 Act was rather short-sighted as, even though it would initially be cheaper, the introduction of The Local Improvement Act would prove the cheapest course in the long run. Glossop would also take on more of the character of a town, regulating its own affairs, rather than the “mere village or hamlet” which it was in everything but extent and population. The Chronicle, though, supported the use of the 1833 Act and hoped that there would be “no delay in bringing the matter either at once to a vestry or call a public meeting in the Town Hall, if the room can be obtained for the purpose, in order that public opinion may be thoroughly tested in the matter before a final issue is raised”. The paper recommended that, in the interim, its readers be wide awake, “as attempts will certainly be made to introduce the Local Government Act among us”.

The public meeting was held at the Town Hall on Monday 12th December with Lord Edward Howard, M.P. in the chair. The district proposed to be lighted was “within the limits of the town of Glossop as defined for the purposes of the Market Act; and so much of the Parish of Glossop as extends beyond the aforesaid limits along the Glossop and Marple Bridge turnpike road and 200 yards on each side of such road”. The meeting was attended by a broad spectrum of townspeople and was unanimously in favour of lighting, though some people who lived on the outskirts of the town were unhappy with the extent of the roads to be lighted. The decision to proceed using the 1833 Act was confirmed by a show of hands of 78 to 70.

The matter was then put, as required by law, to a Vestry meeting, held on Thursday 29 December and chaired by the Vicar. The motion to light the town within the boundaries agreed previously was proposed by Thomas Michael Ellison and seconded by John Handforth. Henry Lees of Woolley Bridge, objected to the lighting going as far as Woolley Bridge and John Shepley, of Brookfield, moved (with Henry Lees seconding) “That the operation of the Lighting Act be confined within the boundaries of the Glossop Market Act”. The objection was based on the assumption that the area beyond the boundary had been included as the rates to be paid from there (including the Print works, Brookfield Mill and Woolley Bridge Mill) would be more than the cost of lighting that area but would subsidise those inside the boundary. Lord Edward Howard supported the original proposition as it was a shame “that a large and wealthy town like Glossop could not be lighted with gas, when poor and comparatively small towns in the agricultural districts enjoyed that blessing!”. John France also supported the original proposition, pointing out that taking the boundary as far as Moodsbottom Bridge, would include the large printworks of Mr. E. Potter & Co., who were favourable to the lighting movement. That being the case, the people of Brookfield and Woolleybridge would do no more than pay for their own gas, even if they did that. Only 6 people voted for the amendment but when the chairman put the original motion there were 75 votes for light and 72 against it. The 1833 Act required a clear majority of two-thirds so the proportion was lost. A poll was demanded on the resolution that, for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of the 1833 Act, twelve Inspectors should be elected and £700 be raised to pay for the work.

In its Editorial, the Record noted that those who voted against the motion were chiefly residents in the village of Glossop, a few cottage owners, and workmen who had either left the mills without permission or had received it that they might vote that way, and expressed sorrow that “the large and wealthy manufacturers were absent” (an apparent indication, either that they were against lighting or were indifferent to it. The editor looked forward to finding that every manufacturer voted for light in the poll and also expressed the opinion that, should the result of the poll be against the lighting of the streets, there was no doubt that steps would be taken to introduce the Improvement Act (which only required a simple majority).

The Chronicle, in its editorial, was critical of the people of Old Glossop and Woolley Bridge who had voted against the motion, saying they were “penny wise and pound foolish” as they risked having to pay more in the long run following the introduction of the Improvement Act. The editor believed that, given sufficient publicity, the poll would result in a large majority for lighting.

The poll was held on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th January, 1860 but did not, initially, produce a clear result. At the close the churchwardens had received 1575 votes for light and 884 votes against (less than the majority required). However, as the Record pointed out, the return indicated only the votes as tendered to the churchwardens, not as recorded by them; and there was abundant reason to conclude that a large number of ratepayers had given duplicate votes.

The Record commented on the way poll had gone in its Editorial. The number polled on the first day was 1,265 in favour of the lighting scheme, and 3 against, the opposing party having held back in the hope that a clear majority of ratepayers in the district would not record their votes in favour, in which case the measure would have fallen. Having seen that the votes tendered on the first day were more than a majority, on Friday morning, the opposition headed by William Shepley of Brookfield, began to pour in adverse votes and at one o’clock had polled 621, against 1,395.

It had been hoped that scrutiny would be completed quickly but a vestry meeting on 26 January heard that it was still ongoing and the meeting was adjourned until Thursday, the 9th February. The attendance at the meeting was not numerous, probably (so the Record thought) because the opposition had realised they had lost by the previous Monday. The meeting lasted only a short time, but long enough to declare victory for the pro-light movement.
The result of the scrutiny was:
For Light
Legal Votes 1,033
Not found on the Rate Book 417
Out of District 15
Rate not paid 5
Unclaimed duplicates 15
Claimed Duplicates 22
Wrong Name or Residence 67
Total 1,574
Against Lighting
Legal Votes 498
Not found on the Rate Book 305
Out of District 7
Rate not paid 8
Unclaimed duplicates 13
Claimed Duplicates 25
Wrong Name or Residence 28
Total 884
The total for light was, therefore, 37 votes over that needed for the two thirds majority.

Following formal public declaration of the poll a meeting was required to elect inspectors. When it was held, on 23 February 1860, it was far more numerously attended and argumentative than that of the 9th. The victors had, in the meantime, tried to arrange a meeting with the opposition to agree a joint proposal for inspectors but that approach had been refused. That being the case, Thomas Ellison proposed a list of people who, he said, were well qualified to perform the duties that appertained to the office of Inspector. They were large ratepayers themselves, so not likely to squander the money, and lived in different parts of the parish so that all parts of the should be cared for. Mr Ellison also remarked that the lighting of the whole district could not be done at once, and it would be for the Inspectors to decide which parts must have preference, but hoped the Inspectors would act solely for the public-good, and not for any particular locality. The name proposed were: John Handforth of Shepley Mill, Francis Hawke of Norfolk Street, John Ashton of High Street, Joseph Bennett of Turnlee, Joseph Brocklehurst of Crosscliffe, Charles Collier of High-street, Thomas Pattison Sykes of Glossop, Joseph Woodcock of the Norfolk Arms Inn, John Kinder of High street, James Owen of the Junction Inn, Samuel Wood of Howardtown and Thomas Hampson of Whitfield. The motion was seconded by W. W. Howard.
William Shepley moved an amendment to the motion of Mr. Ellison, giving his opinion of the unfairness of the proposal and lack of benefit to some parts of the district. His list comprised: henry Lees of Woolleybridge, John Shepley of Brookfield, Benjamin Platt of Dinting, William Bramhall of Glossop, Charles Hadfield of Glossop, Joseph Higginbottom of Glossop, William Ardern of Pikes, Thomas Wagstaffe of High street, James Wagstaffe of Cowbrook lane, John Lyne of Simmondley, Samuel Wood of Howardtown and Thomas Hampson of Whitfield.
A Mr. Goodwin asked if any ratepayer had a right to propose any one, or if they had to take the names upon the list, and was told that any rate-payer who was eligible may be proposed.
After some discussion, Joseph Wilkinson proposed (seconded by Samuel Beeley) that both lists be done away with so that the rate-payers could propose whom they thought proper, rather than being faced with a monopoly.
After a great amount of squabbling (according to the Record), it was decided to put Mr. Shepley's list first. That was lost by a considerable majority.
Mr. Wilkinson's amendment, That both lists be rejected, and that the names be proposed singly, was then put to the meeting and was lost in a close vote.
The original motion was then carried by a considerable majority.
Rather than accept the vote at the meeting, William Shepley demanded a poll on the two lists. The poll started immediately and carried on until 4pm the following day. Mr. Ellison's list gained 584 votes and Mr. Shepley's list 511. Mr. Ellison's list was, therefore, carried by a majority of 73.

The Inspectors lost no time in advertising that they were “open for business”, this notice being published in the Record of 3 March:
Lighting the Streets with Gas.
Notice is hereby given that the Inspectors appointed under the Act 3 & 4 William IV., chap. 90, for lighting with gas such part of the parish of Glossop as is comprised within the limits of the Town of Glossop, as defined for the purposes of the Glossop Market Act and so much of the said Parish of Glossop as extends beyond the aforesaid limits along the Glossop and Marple Bridge Turnpike Road, to Woolleybridge, and 200 yards on each side of such road, will hold their meetings for the transaction of business in accordance with and by direction of the said Act, at the Office, in Norfolk street, used for the relief of the poor, on the First Monday in every month, at Twelve o'clock at noon.
Glossop, 1st March 1860.

At the beginning of April the inspectors advertised for tenders for supplying Lamp Posts, Frames, Lamps and Fittings. The tenders were to state in detail prices, weights, dimensions &c.
On 7 May the inspectors met to decide on the tenders received. After due consideration it was agreed that Messrs Blackwell, Ironfounder, Glossop, should supply the lamp-posts; and that Messrs John Shaw and Son, Gas Fitters, should fit and erect the lamps. The estimated cost of each lamp-post and fittings was about £2 2s. 6d.

The next few weeks brought criticism, both in the form of letters to the Record and in the editor's comments, that little seemed to be happening. In the record of 23 June, though, it was reported that the inspectors had held a meeting with the Gas Company to agree the rate at which the Gas Company was willing to supply gas for lighting “the lamps which are rapidly being placed in position in our streets”. The decision of the Gas Company managers was that they would supply gas for 2,000 hours' light at 26s. per lamp.

There was also argument (published in the form of letters) over what the costs would be likely to be for different areas but they had no effect on the progress of implementation.

The Record of 30th June 1860 published five letters commenting on the fact that the lamp-posts were being erected on only one side of each street. Four of the letters were critical of the inspectors for dong so. The writer of the fourth had taken the trouble to ask one of the inspectors what the reason was. He was informed that, because it was impossible to light the whole of the town at first, doing so would bring at least some light to the maximum amount of the town. Alternate lamps were to be fixed on the other side when funds allowed, so that the whole would be done without levying too heavy a tax on the ratepayers at once. That still did not stop a further critical letter the following week.

The Record summed up the position in its leader of 14 July 1860:
The Lighting Inspectors are busily engaged in the performance of the duties entrusted to them by the ratepayers. A considerable number of lamp-posts are already put up; and, judging from the despatch with which the work is being executed, the greater part of the town will be lighted during the next winter. Some of our correspondents have chosen to find fault with the mode in which the Inspectors, are proceeding, with respect to the position of the posts; but had they themselves been Inspectors, they would probably have acquiesced in the plan adopted. The Inspectors are business men, and men or intelligence; and have, doubtless, thoroughly discussed the best course to be pursued.—so as to do their work with efficiency, and to give general satisfaction. The persons who supposed that lamps were to be placed only on one side of the streets, have had the ground or their complaint removed, by an intimation that their supposition is erroneous; and that, should they live, another year they may have the pleasure or seeing posts alternately fixed on both sides. Whether it might have been advisable to complete the arrangements in each street, so as to give at once the full degree of light intended, is a question which has been raised, and on which different opinions have been expressed. Much may be said on both sides. After mature deliberation, we are inclined to think that the Inspectors have exercised sound discretion in first placing lamps only on one side of the streets. It might have been more agreeable to the eye to see a street fully lighted, rather than half lighted; but if the lighting had been completed at once in each street, only half the space which will be lighted next winter could have been lighted, and the parties left in darkness might have accused the Inspectors of partiality, and have been excited to opposition against them. In the course pursued, the Inspectors have shown a disposition to carry out their trust with impartiality, and have obviated a complaint which might have been made by the residents of streets left in darkness, that they were required to pay one year's lighting rate without a corresponding advantage. Englishman like fair play, and are willing to submit to temporary inconvenience, provided all in the same position are subjected to it. The lighting of the streets will he defective during the first year; but, instead of grumbling and scribbling complaints against the Inspectors for not affording more light, we would advise fault-finders to suspend their judgement, to exercise patience, to bear in mind that their work is not finished, and to give them credit for having done the best they could in the time allotted and with the money granted. Serving the public in an unpaid office is a very thankless thing. Most persons see defects in the procedure of honorary officials. Few estimate their difficulties ; few manifest any gratitude for their self-denial and attention to business; and hence many men decline all public offices. They will not devote their time, their talents, and their energies in services requited by ingratitude and rendered onerous by fault finders, who take pleasure in thwarting and vexing them in the fulfilment of their engagements. We think the lighting inspectors are entitled to the thanks and confidence of the public of Glossop. We tender them our thanks. We have faith in the men, and entertain not the least doubt but that, when their labours are finished, they will deserve to be ranked among the benefactors of the community.

A fortnight later the paper reported that the arrangements for lighting the streets were progressing very favourably. A rate of 7d. in the pound had been signed by the Magistrates, to make up the sum of £700 granted by the Vestry for lighting purposes.

On 1st September 1860 both the Record and Chronicle carried advertisements stating that the inspectors would begin lighting the streets for the first time on the following Friday, 7th September. There had, on one or two former occasions, been some partial lighted, but this was the first time that the streets and roads from Old Glossop down as far as Dinting were all lit up. The inspectors also arranged a celebratory dinner at the Norfolk Arms, to which they invited “any of their friends in the neighbourhood who may favour them with their company”. Some 46 people attended.

The editorial of the Record of 8th September 1860 celebrated the occasion thus:
The seventh day of September, one thousand eight hundred and sixty, will be regarded in time to come as one of the memorable days in the history of Glossop. It will be remembered as the day on the evening of which the streets of the town were for the first time publicly lit with gas. The event will probably be a topic of conversation when half a century from the present time shall have passed away. Glossop as it is, contrasted with what it was forty or fifty years ago, is frequently upon the lips of the natives of the place who are advanced in life. They recount to each other by way of reminiscence, or tell to youths and children in order to afford them information, the state and features of the place when they were young ; the smallness of the population ; the fewness of the houses between Glossop and Woolleybridge ; the character of the mills that were originally built; and the length of the hours of labour. They beguile away time by talking of the days of old, which appear to their youthful listeners to be the years of ancient times. In fifty or sixty years to come, some who are now children will remind each other that they can remember the day when the streets of Glossop were first lighted, and will tell, perhaps, to their children's children, that in the year I860 this memorable event took place. “Better late than never” is a maxim applied to tardy movements when they are likely soon to be completed, or, when the object proposed by them is effected, and is expressive of dissatisfaction with the delay that has occurred, and pleasure that what has long been desired or looked for has at length come to pass. This maxim is applicable to the event of last night. The lighting of the streets of Glossop has been long a desideratum, but has “at last” been accomplished; so, that, henceforth, after the sun has gone down and the moon has withdrawn herself, the inhabitants may walk in artificial light and traverse illumined paths, unless —which we do not anticipate—a majority of ratepayers, at the next or a subsequent vestry meeting, shall decide that, in order to the saving a few pence or pounds, the lamps shall not be lighted—that the lamp posts shall stand as pillars of arrested progress—as monuments of the triumph of mammon, or of the victory of darkness. We are, however, persuaded better things, though we thus write. Having tasted that light is sweet and pleasant to the eye, as well as a safeguard from danger, few will be disposed to renounce its benefits for the dreariness and danger of darkness. The lighting inspectors have done their work like earnest men of business, and have devoted much time and attention to the duties imposed upon them by the ratepayers, for which they deserve the thanks of the public. The contractor, Mr. Edwin Shaw, has performed his part most satisfactorily. A man more interested in the object could not have been found, to undertake the work, which has doubtless been of service, as a man who has a public spirited interest in anything he undertakes will take a pride in doing it effectually and well. Glossop has advanced many steps in social progress during the last twenty years; and we hope that the lighting of the streets will not be a landing or stopping place, but that, in twenty years to come, as cheering and encouraging a retrospect may be taken as in now taken of the past.

The Local Government Act 1858 was finally adopted by the new borough council in April 1867.

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Last updated: 4 October 2020