Replica lamps to shine light on Ponsonby history

The lamps sat on top of a pole in a Ponsonby intersection after they were installed in 1873, giving the area the name 'Three Lamps.' Photo / NZ Herald Archives
The lamps sat on top of a pole in a Ponsonby intersection after they were installed in 1873, giving the area the name 'Three Lamps.' Photo / NZ Herald Archives

A historic Auckland landmark is about to be reinstated after a seven-year project to rebuild three street lamps in Ponsonby.

The lamps sat on top of a pole in a Ponsonby intersection after they were installed in 1873, giving the area the name "Three Lamps".

Now, after seven years' effort to get them back, the Auckland Council's Waitemata Local Board has given the go-ahead for replica lamps to be made from drawings and photographs and put up on an 11m pole at a cost of about $100,000.

The pole will not be on its original site in the middle of the intersection but on the footpath a few metres away.

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust said the original lamps were a starting point for horse-drawn buses that ran into the city from Ponsonby, a resting place for young and old and a rallying place for budding politicians.

The gas lamps were replaced with electricity in 1902 but not moved from the intersection until 1934. The originals disappeared but another set of three lamps was mounted on the veranda of the Ponsonby Club Hotel, now the Gluepot Apartments.

The New Zealand Observer weekly newspaper described the Three Lamps as one of the city's historic landmarks and "most prominent monuments to the days when walking to work was the fashion and the horse bus was a luxury".

The original plinth the pole sat on has been found and will be mounted on the footpath outside the Gluepot Apartments.

Waitemata board chairman Shale Chambers said three replica lamps would be built and installed, hopefully this year.

- NZ Herald

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