Tyrone antiques shop snaps up 250 rare lamp posts
An antiques shop in a Co Tyrone village has stockpiled nearly half-a-million pounds worth of Victorian lamp posts after an English council banned them due to health and safety.
Almost 250 of the 19th century ornate cast-iron columns have popped up in Newtownstewart where they are currently being restored to their former glory.
Co-owner of Ryan and Smith, Don Ryan, believes the discarded items will sell for £2,000 each after they are stripped down and repainted.
"They are 11ft high, beautifully decorated and they pre-date electricity," he said.
"But the best thing about them as that there is so many of them - it's such a rare find.
The lights which once adorned the streets of Harrogate were originally installed by Harrogate Gas Company in 1848.
They stood tall for more than a century, but over 600 of the vintage posts were scrapped by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) after the local authority deemed them unsafe.
Most of them ended up with a salvage dealer after failing to attract any bidders at auction. It followed a passionate campaign by residents who fought hard to save the street lamps.
"To be honest, if I lived in the town I would have been part of that campaign which raised £40,000," Mr Ryan said.
"It wasn't enough but six of the lights were given heritage protection."
Once the copper and glass hoods and electrical wiring has been repaired, the 300kg relics could have a combined value of £496,000.
"It will take a lot of time and care which can be a costly and delicate process," Mr Ryan said.
One potential customer has already expressed an interest in buying 40 of the historic street lamps.
"Some people in big houses want to dot their driveways in them," the antique dealer said.
"Hoteliers and developers would also be interested, but others are content to just buy one."