Many hands make light work of restoring Gala relic

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A STREET lamp dating from the 19th century has been lovingly restored in Galashiels, using £14,000 which Scottish Borders Council has raised from pay parking revenues in the town, writes Andrew Keddie.

It was unveiled last week in Tweed Crescent, its home since 1933 when it was relocated from the Market Square to give buses a larger turning circle.

But the column with its ornate lantern had fallen into disrepair and the council consulted with the Old Gala Club which uncovered a photograph of the lamppost in its heyday. It showed that the original had not one, but three, lanterns.

Further research by David Brown of SBC’s roads department revealed that the firm which made the original lanterns – the Sugg Lighting Company of Horsham, West Sussex – was still in existence and thus able to ensure the restoration was as authentic as possible.

By happy chance, the Ballantyne Bo’ness Iron Company had also been in continuous production since the 1800s and that firm was commissioned to replace the rotten iron lighting column.

The intricate painting was carried out by Finlaysons of Galashiels, while the brickwork base and plinth was completed by staff from SBC Contracts.

“So much of Gala’s built heritage has been lost, so it’s good to have been able to restore this magnificent structure, which was in a dreadful state,” said Councillor Jim Fullarton, SBC’s executive member for roads and infrastructure.