A PAINSTAKING project to bring Malvern’s iconic gas lamps into the 21st century has come full circle with the installation of the last lantern.

The lamp on Holywell Road, Malvern Wells, was put back in place by the Gasketeers, a group of volunteers and enthusiasts formed through Transition Malvern Hills, yesterday.

It is also the oldest in the network of about 104 lanterns, dating back to the late Victorian period, that the group has restored.

Brian Harper, a member of the lighting group, said it was a long process with the lamp at the top of the 99 steps, off St Ann’s Road, being the first to be modernised in December 2010 before the serious work started in earnest in May 2011.

It took 30-40 hours just to restore the final lamp’s frame.

Mr Harper said: “It was one of the worst to work on. Most of the lanterns were beyond economic repair but there has been a huge volunteer effort and only with that effort has it been possible.

He added: “Over a few years they would have just fallen apart – we have just caught them in time.

"We have re-made nearly every part of the lanterns, including the burners and our high-tech stuff.”

There are now about 85 lamps currently giving out light, with the group’s attention turning to fitting the remaining lanterns with their modern burners and exploring other lighting projects around the town.