At first sight, an old but fairly ordinary gas street lamp, but this is in fact something much rarer. Designed by the Engineer Joseph Webb, this is a sewer gas destructor lamp. Sewer gases tend to collect in higher points in the system. Webb's lamp burns off the gas harmlessly, while at the same time providing free light and converting the greenhouse gas, methane, to carbon dioxide. Few inventions have a better claim to environmental perfection. This particular lamp is in Sheffield, but similar ones were erected in many English cities.
Give me your hand and let me take you where
a light still penetrates the Northern air,
wanly triumphant, seemingly aware
of nothing worth illuminating there.
Though dereliction conquered, Joseph knew
prosperity, and set his efforts to
a fitting monument. He saw it through
in spite of scoffing fools of gentry who
believed his project wholly indiscreet.
They said, "The sewers underneath the street
should not proclaim their presence. Neither heat
nor light nor any other use is meet."
But here, in honour of a worthy man
we'll raise a glass to fartlight, while we can.