Punch on the People's Parks
C H B *
C H B *
Light, Heat, Technology, Environmentalism, Pollution, Measurement, Instruments
Responding to the recent rejection of a parliamentary bill to build gasworks on Victoria Park, five illustrations are presented comparing contemporary with earlier forms of lighting. The first shows a man and a woman in eighteenth-century costume, reading and darning by the light of a huge tallow candle, while the second shows a skeletal and burnt tree illustrating the effects of the sulphurous fumes emitted by gasworks. These two images show that 'Our ancestors were content with tallow candles [...] but then they had no trees of [the latter] description'. The next three illustrations represent the contemporary situation with gas lighting. The first shows a gas lamp drawn in the form of a happy and 'brilliant' human being, the second shows the components of the meter drawn with 'malignant' human features, and the third shows a bushy tree, drawn in the shape of a 'benevolent' human. The captions of these three reveal that 'We, who have a beautiful and brilliant gas [...] will not allow these malignant meters [...] to distress this benevolent gentleman—no, not even in Victoria Park'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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