William Farrar (1831-1903) served as a much respected Dean of Canterbury Cathedral from 1895 until his death. One little-noticed memorial to him (there are others inside the cathedral) was the lamp post which stood near the entrance to the SW porch of the cathedral. It bears a label ‘To the memory of Dean Farrar 1903’.
The lamp post bears no resemblance to Biggleston’s versions. The post itself is machined into a criss-cross of lozenge shapes, and the labels added to the post – a portcullis and a lozenge with number and letter codes, is at first sight not easy to explain.
However, research has shed useful light on these queries. The portcullis motif has links to Westminster and Parliament – Dean Farrar in his earlier career served as Canon in Westmister Abbey, as Rector of St Margaret’s church there, and he was chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. The manufacturer was William Sugg & Co, a company still in business in Westminster. Other similar Sugg lamp posts have been found.
And the lozenge label turns out to be a trademark device, operating in early and mid Victorian years.
It seems likely that the memorial was arranged by interested parties in Westminster to cherish his memory.
The images (click to enlarge and read captions) illustrate several features of this story:
Image 1 William Farrar
Image 2 the memorial lamp post (by the 2017 Christmas tree)
Image 3 the top of the memorial lamp post – with a lantern that is certainly a replacement
Image 4 the memorial label
Image 5 the post itself, showing its ‘number’ collar
Image 6 the postcullis on the Canterbury post
Image 7 the trademark lozenge
Image 8 the post of a similar lamp in Hyde Park
Image 9 the portcullis on the Hyde Park post
NB The Canterbury lamp post was taken down in April 2018 to make way for major changes to this area of the precincts. It is uncertain when (or where) it will be reinstated.
For further information on this lamp post please click here.