Victorian London - Lighting - Gas - Street signs

The following report was presented by the surveyor to the Commissioners : I beg to report that, in pursuance of your instructions, I have permitted Messrs. Powell, of the Whitefriars Glass Works to fix tablets bearing the names of streets in certain of the public lamps within the city of London.
    These tablets are formed of glass roughed upon one side, having the letters which compose the names of the streets impressed upon the with other side. The letters are filled up with black metallic colour, burnt in the general surface of the tablets, and the names of the streets are easily discernible at night when the lamps are lighted.
    The public lamps in which the tablets have been placed are situated at the S.W. end of Cornhill, the S.W. end of King-street and the N.E. end of Queen-street, Cheapside; the corners of Ludgate-hill, Fleet-street and Farringdon-street, and at the southern end of the Old Jewry.
    They appear to answer their purpose exceedingly well, and are, I think, likely to be very serviceable in directing strangers after day-light.
    There is a scarcely a street or public thoroughfare within the city of London which is not already provided with street tablets, and the public lamps, owing to the narrowness of the footpaths, are frequently so near to them, that they can be read after daylight, but there are many localities in which these tablets can be placed with advantage to the public lamps.
    It is not, I think, probable that tablets so placed will in this metropolis supersede entirely the ordinary street tablets, as the size of the letter, owing to the dimensions of the lamps, is very limited, but as their price is so very small, it becomes well worthy of consideration whether they might not be used extensively as adjuncts to the present tablets.
    ... The members expressed the opinion that the plan adopted by the surveyor would be very serviceable in directing the foreigners and other strangers with whom the metropolis will soon abound.

Times, March 19 1851