04 Lamplighters & Farthings

Does anyone in Finedon own a lamplighter’s staff ? If so, will they tell me what fueled the little lamp with the slow wick at the top? When I was a boy the nightly rounds of the lamplighter changed the nature of our games. There were street lamps on Orchard Road at Plackett’s Yard, Tite’s Yard, and Knight’s Farm, and this was the stretch of road we used for our games. We would start playing at dusk, and when the lamplighter came on his nightly rounds we would change from hide-and-go-seek to ball and dickie games. When the street lights were changed from naked flames to mantled gas the lights were brighter and some excellent hiding places were exposed. I often wondered how many lamplighters there were. Does anyone know? It would be quite a walk to go around and light them at dusk, and then turn them off again at sunrise.

Another thing I wonder is when did farthings cease to be legal tender. I remember about 1918 when we found a farthing we would acquire another by hunting or trading and then go down to Parker’s drapery shop with the two farthings and trade them for a ha’penny. This shop was glad to get farthings as all there goods were priced to the eleven pence three farthings. So they gave a farthing or a paper of pins in change. We took the ha’penny across the road to the sweet shop on the corner and bought two aniseed balls.
How about other stories of those days. Len Butler.