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Category Archives: Hatherley House

Country & Town House UK

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Illuminations and Free Voices


Lighting Hatherley from 1835
It is amazing to think that artificial light at night is relatively recent. First there were candles or lamps that burnt wax or oil. Lots of candles would have been used at Hatherley, hundreds burnt every month, thousands of candles burnt each and every year… up until around 1860.

In August 1860 Launceston gained more than 25 kilometres of gas pipeline serving the first 132 shops, 60 hotels and public houses, 37 private dwellings, 9 public buildings, 6 places of worship, three printing offices and one theatre connected to the gas works. As well there were 123 municipal street lights, five marine board lights and and three private street lights.

Despite the commissioning of the council’s Duck Reach hydro power scheme in 1896 the demand for gas for heating and cooking continued up until the late 1970’s.

Hatherley is today a chronological study from early colonial to present day artificial lighting – of converted oil lamps, gasaliers, chandeliers made to run on gas, and electric lights. The glass lenses range from hand etched blown glass spheres, to european handcrafted cut crystal. One of the main lights in the Dowling Room is an ornamental gasalier is likely a McEwan’s ‘Elegant Ormolu’ with six gas lights featuring a pulley system to raise or lower the fitting.

The beautiful and intricate Ceiling Roses of Hatherley

A ceiling rose is a decorative element adorning the ceiling of a room often used to suspend a chandelier or light fitting and Hatherley displays a beautiful range of ornamental rose designs.

The rose has symbolised secrecy since Roman times. It promises secrecy, the rose suspended above a meeting table symbolises the freedom to speak plainly without repercussion, which goes back to Tudor times and lives on to this day.


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Illuminations and Free Voices
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