Listed Cockey Lamp in Whittox Lane, Frome, illegally removed
By LoveFrome | Wednesday, April 27, 2011, 10:34
On 12th April shopkeepers at the top of Catherine Hill, Frome, were horrified to see contractors demolish, chop up & load onto a truck a beautiful Listed lamp in Whittox Lane, outside No. 9. It was one of the unique collection of Cockey Lamps which make the streetscape of Frome so distinctive and was made locally by Lewis Cockey. It has been replaced with a rather hideous 'heritage' replica.
Replacement lamp and Frome Civic Society member
A Cockey lamp further down Whittox Lane at Sun Street, Frome
The Cockey lamp replacement, Frome
The demolition of a listed heritage asset without the prior consent of the Local Planning Authority is a punishable offence and it is the duty of the LPA to prosecute the offender for the offence.The Civic Society have written to the District Council to ask them to take action. They say;
"Surely there is an established procedure by which the County Council consults with the Conservation Officer before undertaking works to historic lamposts or highway works within Conservation Areas that would prevent the needless loss of historic heritage assets and the distress of local residents."
It appears that the Frome streetscape is under attack by Somerset Highways. The cobbles and stone paving on Catherine Hill and Sheppards Barton are being repaired by removing the stones and infilling with tarmac.
The Cockey lamp post was listed here: Lamp Post in Front of No 9 - Frome - Somerset - England | British Listed Buildings details;
5363 WHITTOX LANE
Lamp post in
ST 7748 SW 4/455 GV front of No 9
II [Grade of Listing]
1901-04 by local an-metal firm of Singers. [this is not actually correct] Cast-iron standard with crook to suspend lamps. Crook filled with art-nouveau style ornament. Adapted to town lighting (an early provincial example of electrification).
Listing NGR: ST7744548094
The original Cockey Lamp is captured in a beautiful painting which you can find here
I have written to the Street Lighting Manager at the Highways Department & the Senior Conservation Manager at Somerset County Council to find out more.
UPDATE: I have spoken to the Conservation Section at County Council and the lamp (or whatever is left) is in the Wellington depot of the contractor, Balfour Beatty. He is liaising with the District Council & is going to inspect it shortly & report back.
UPDATE No. 2: Spoke to Supervisor at Balfour Beatty and they have it in poor condition (in at least 3 pieces) in their depot in Taunton. They were requested to replace it by Somerset County Council who said it was 'structurally unsafe'. Some of the lamps are removed if the have asbestos collars.
UPDATE No. 3: Mendip Conservation section have confirmed it was done without Listed Building consent and the consequences of the actions (re criminal offence etc) have been explained to 'the man at Highways'. Frome Town Council have previously found Cockey lamps, or parts of them, at Frome Reclamation, despite their agreement with SCC that they are offered any redundant lamps to ensure they are kept in Frome to be perhaps reused as decorative features.
UPDATE No. 5: The County Council have stated that the post was in such a dangerous condition that it needed to be removed urgently for public safety reasons, it is to be inspected shortly & they aim to repair it. The Town Council have already submitted the remainder for Listing to English Heritage. Over the next couple of weeks a strategy will be drawn up to deal with the remaining lamps.