The history behind the name

Our staff are regularly asked to explain the significance and background to our name.

This is increasingly the case as we expand our geographical coverage well beyond our Thornaby base.

We are proud of our association with the Lamps and offer the following brief summary.

Robert de Thormodbi returned wounded from the Crusades in the 13th century and swore to establish a shrine to the Virgin Mary. He did so in St. Peters Church and the shrine was lit by five sanctuary lamps.

In 1546 one cottage at Stainton and two acres of land at Thornaby were given to fund five lamps for the chapel at Thornaby. This is said to be the origin of the name of the Thornaby landmark, the Five Lamps.

The next key historic event saw the building of a set of lamps in 1874 at the junction of Mandale Road and George Street. Over the years they became a significant meeting place and a focal point for the local community. The lamps were used by politicians, preachers and others and symbolised free speech. Each new year hundreds of local folk would gather around them and celebrate the Town Hall clock striking midnight.

The building of the A66 saw the lamps removed, but on completion of the work a replica set was made by the apprentices at the Head Wrightson engineering company and erected about fifty yards from their original position.

In 2002 another set, not an exact replica, was placed in the centre of a roundabout almost exactly where the originals used to stand.

When Thornaby Impasse became The Five Lamps - Thornaby Community Resource Centre in 1992, changing to The Five Lamps Organisation in 1998, the choice of name did not only have a strong geographical connotation. Our work in social and economic regeneration and our mission ‘Making People Matter’ draw on the Lamps’ symbolism of free speech, a meeting place and a gathering place for unemployed people.

In 2010, the replica lamps were placed on Mitchell Avenue, adjacent to Acklam Road as a gateway to the regenerated Thornaby Town Centre.

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