The Veitch lamppost trail is a trail of cast iron period lampposts in the the St James and St David’s neighbourhoods of Exeter. The painted lamp posts are illustrated with different plants important because of the Veitch family and have been painted by botanical illustrator Kate Wilson.
Many of the plants depicted on the lamp posts have a local connection to the Exeter Veitch family and the nursery business. The Veitch family lived and worked in Exeter for several generations and their work changed British gardens forever. Some members of the Veitch family are buried in Exeter. James Veitch and Robert Toswill Veitch are buried in St Leonards Cemetery, now part of Higher cemetery. Peter Veitch is buried in St David’s churchyard.
The lamp post trail starts in Elm Grove Road where Robert Veitch, and later Peter Veitch, lived. The trail continues past the area where the Veitch stock orchard was and follows the perimeter of Bury Meadow park where there is a Veitch information board (great locally-commissioned iron work gates), past St David’s Church and follows the lamp posts around the area ending up at the St David’s community centre.
Some of the lamp posts were made locally – Exeter has a proud engineering history. There is a garlanded Garton and King lamp post on the trail as well as other Garton and King and Willey & Co lamp posts and, apparently unusual, a Sheppard lamp post. Look down as you walk the trail – there are locally-made cast iron gulleys and drain covers too. Peter and Harriet Veitch, “Iron Sam” Kingdon, founder of Garton and King iron foundry, and Frederick Willey are buried in St David’s churchyard. There are some nice, newly-planted, named variety, apple trees there too.
Drawings and photos of the lamp posts with a little bit of information have been uploaded to the “lamp posts” page of this website. You’ll need to scroll down the page to see them and at the moment they are not all in numerical order.
There is a leaflet of the trail which can be downloaded below.
(It’s also on the leaflet page where you can see what it looks like)
The lamp post photographs and all drawings on this site are subject to copyright and must not be used without permission from the copyright holder, Kate Wilson.