Street Lighting - History

Street Lighting - History container

Street Lighting - History content

James Bowman Lindsay was born at Carmyllie on 8th September 1799. He studied at St Andrews University with the intention of devoting himself to the ministry. However, in 1829 he was appointed Lecturer in Science and Mathematics at the Watt Institution in Dundee.

In 1833 he took up residence in Dundee and formed classes for instruction in Science. On 31st July 1835, the Dundee Advertiser announced that "Mr Lindsay, a teacher in the town, succeeded on the evening of Saturday July 25, in obtaining a constant electric light".

The first street lighting in Dundee of which any real record exists were 24 oil lamps fixed at strategic points in the town, probably using whale oil obtained from the whaling ships which visited the harbour. In 1817 an enterprising tinsmith lit his shop on the north side of the High Street by gas. Gas lamps were probably introduced in the Seagate and gas lighting in the public thoroughfares around 1830.

It was in 1894 that the first electric lamp in Dundee was lit, but it was only in 1938 that a serious attempt was made to extend the use of electricity for street lighting, as until then gas lighting still predominated in the city. The phasing out of gas lamps in favour of electric ones took until the late 1950's to take hold.