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The Veitch Lamp Post Trail in Exeter

Veitch Lamp Post Trail in Exeter

An unusual combination of engineering and botanical drawing.

Kate Wilson in action

Crinodendron hookerianum

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Veitchii' 

Lapageria rosea

The idea of the lamp post trail started because the historic cast-iron lamp posts were in a shocking state of neglect. Residents of St David's and St James wanted to preserve them and secured funding for their restoration in 2015.  
17 lamp posts were repainted in the original livery by Rob Gardener. Most of the cast-iron lamp-posts were made at Exeter foundries (now closed) by firms such as Garton & King, F. Parkin and & Son, Willey & Sons

Magnolia x veitchii 'Peter Veitch'

Magnolia stellata

Malus hupehensis

Camellia x williamsii 'Mildred Veitch'

These pieces of period street furniture were then linked with another famous heritage industry in the neighbourhood, horticulture and the world-renowned Veitch family, who sent plant-hunters out all over the world bringing back plants which are now familiar to most of us in our gardens.  Local botanical illustrator Kate Wilson was commissioned to paint a different Veitch plant on 16 of the lamp posts. 

Odontoglossum bictoniense

Parthenocissus tricuspidata 'Vetchii'

Physalis alkekengi var franchetii

Clematis 'John Gould Veitch'

Kate said magnolia stellata was the beginning of the painting journey in 2016. The other plants are lapageria rosea, camellia x williamsii ‘Mildred Veitch’, parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Veitchii’, hydrangea macrophylla 'Veitchii', malus hupehensis, clematis ‘John Gould Veitch’, magnolia x veitchii ‘Peter Veitch’, crinodendron hookerianum, physalis alkekenge var franchettii, odontoglossum bictoniense, clematis montana var rubens, hamamelis mollis, lonicera tragophylla, trapaeolum speciosum, and mutisia decurrens. 

The plants started as line drawings made in a permanent pen straight on to the lamp post and then were painted in sign-writer’s enamel which should be reasonably durable.  The lamp post trail consists of 16 painted by Kate, and the 17th is a civic lamp post with a raised garland decoration and the Exeter city coat of arms, painted by sign-writer Mark Hill.

There is a website which has photos of the lamp posts and the trail leaflet that you can download: 

If you visit Exeter, be sure to take a look at the trail.

Original Drawings

All images copyright Kate Wilson

Text: Ann Wheeler (HPS Devon Group)

Posted by The Webteam


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1 Comments To "The Veitch Lamp Post Trail in Exeter"

Sue Catchpole On 28.05.2018
I liked this post. A little bit different from the usual posts. Reply to this comment
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