Preceding the growth in electricity production was Bankside’s gas lighting industry. This image depicts a family gathering under the shadow of the new power station outside the Pitts Head public House (on the site of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall).
Now silent falls the fleecy snow,
And streams with ice abound,
And scarce its rays the sun doth show,
Yet still there’s pleasures found.
The difference make! The streets all ablaze;
Courts, lanes and alleys are made bright with rays,
Which from gas continuously flow;
And gives daylight where’ere you go,
If light gives safety, safety causeth care,
Our labour then we feel assured must please,
To yield you safety to us is alike a charm’
We fly with joy, our labour guards from harm!
Extract from a Gas Lamplighter’s poem (1870)