MORE than four years after the plan was first mooted, Honley Wells has emerged from the dark.
It was as long ago as the 1930s that the historic wells in Eastgate, which are Grade II listed, were last illuminated.
But thanks to the perseverance of Honley Civic Society member Alec Wallace in overcoming various bureaucratic hurdles, a new lamp was unveiled on Saturday.
The 2012 version cost a mere £35 and is not lit by gas but by hi-tech LED lights and a solar panel which provides up to five hours of light after dark before it needs to be recharged.
The unveiling was carried out by Clr Charles Greaves with Honley Band providing a suitably stirring musical accompaniment.
Civic society chairman, Ken Jenkin, said: “We felt that the Wells looked incomplete without their crowning glory and we are delighted that the area committee has helped to fund a feature of which I am certain Honley will be proud.”
Honley people are rightly keen about their wells.
The stone troughs have been in pride of place in the centre of the village for over 200 years.
And passing villagers and tourists still smile at the inscription dated 1796 which warns of a penalty of 10 shillings for anyone who defiles the water.
When they were rebuilt in 1850 so proud of them were the villagers that they placed Honley’s very first street light on top of a substantial stone at one corner of the wells to light the water after dark.
It was lit by gas – piped in from the village’s own gas works at Honley Bridge – and first shone its yellow light over the waters on December 28, 1858.
When fresh water was piped though the village in 1881 many of its population were reluctant to drink from a tap as they couldn’t see where the water had come from.
At the wells there was no doubt in their minds that the water was clear.
The lamp stood proudly until the last days of Honley Urban District Council in the 1930s when the closure of the wells was discussed – the waters were uncertain by then and could often be fetid.
Once the cattle ceased to drink from them they were of little use and stood in the way of a road widening plan.
As a result the wells were reduced in size by half and the lamp removed for safe keeping.