- Museum number
Group of men working; five men employed in fitting and laying gas pipes, while a labourer stands near resting on his shovel. 1834
Verso: Part of a water pipe
- Production date
Height: 230 millimetres
Width: 138 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Catalogue entry from J.Kierkuc-Bielinski, 'George Scharf', exh. Soane Museum, 2009 (no. 60):
It was not just the building of London’s great public monuments that drew Scharf’s attention. He was also interested in the more mundane changes that were taking place in the city’s streets, which would nevertheless change the way Londoners lived in their metropolis. He notes seeing the first asphalt pavements being laid near Oxford Street and sketches sewers being laid in Fleet Street and gas mains in Tottenham Court Road (see 1862,0614.227). Another improvement to the city’s infrastructure is shown in this sketch of workmen laying a gas-main. The cobbles of the road have been lifted allowing the surprisingly shallow trench to be dug, into which the gas main is being laid. Scharf has clearly shown the connectors, spaced at regular intervals along the gas-main, which would have piped the gas up to the lights, mounted on posts, at street level. Gas street lighting was first demonstrated in an experimental scheme for lighting Pall Mall in 1807. By 1823, there were four companies which supplied gas in London: the London Gas, Light and Coke Company; the City of London Gas Light Company; the South London Gas Light and Coke Company; and the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company. With these four companies supplying London’s needs gas lighting soon replaced the old oil lamps in most of central London by about 1827. In 1834, when Scharf sketched this view, the familiar network of underground gas- and water-mains beneath London’s main streets was already in place although it took a little longer for gas lighting to be used in the domestic context. The perceived safety risk and the cost of the new lighting source acted as disincentives.
Stamped on modern mount "Vol. I - 15".
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1987 Apr-Aug, London, Museum of London, 'Londoners' Exhibition'
1992 Jun-Nov, Essen, Villa Hugel, London 1800-38, no. 109
1993/4 Nov-May, London, Museum of London, Peopling of London (no cat.)
2009 Mar-Jun, London, Sir John Soane Museum, George Scharf
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number