Glasgow's built heritage is held in high esteem by the city's inhabitants - and so the sudden removal of Edwardian street lamps in a conversation area has been causing consternation among local residents.

In a move described as "boneheaded" by a city politician, ornate lampposts lighting the way along the listed Queen Margaret Bridge vanished late last week, prompting one wag to tape missing posters on the sparse steel replacements.

Glasgow City Council has now, however, shed light on the situation.

According to a spokesman, the five historic lighting columns were removed for two reasons: the two older structures had "significant deterioration" and have been removed for safety reasons.

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These, The Herald was told, have been preserved in the hope they can be fully retained.

The other three are "beyond repair" and have been scrapped.

Labour MSP Paul Sweeney described the situation - particularly as the lampposts form part of the bridge's listing - as unacceptable, saying such historic street furniture should be properly maintained and protected.

The lampposts date back to 1929 when the new Queen Margaret Bridge was completed, replacing a bridge constructed in 1869 by the then-landowner John Ewing Walker who had bought land in the new suburb of Kelvinside.

The bridge was B-listed in 1987 and falls within the Glasgow West Conservation Area, which should give the lampposts a protected status.

Mr Sweeney said: "Glasgow City Council has trashed listed building status and conservation area status by removing these.

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"Has the council street light replacement team just been blindly programmed to go around replacing street lighting without any consideration of heritage?

"There needs to be a more robust protocol for dealing with heritage light installations across the city and this should be a prompt for Glasgow to emulate cities like Edinburgh and Dublin which have a much more respectful approach to dealing with their heritage lighting than Glasgow."

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “An inspection of the lighting columns along Queen Margaret Drive found significant deterioration within their structures, which was not apparent from viewing the exterior of the decorative bases.

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“To protect public safety, the older columns were removed as a matter of urgency and to ensure suitable street lighting remains in place, new lighting columns have been installed.

“We fully understand the enjoyment that residents take from the city’s built heritage and so the decorative bases of two lighting columns have been retained with a view to possible, future use.

The consternation over the removal of the west end lighting columns comes as the city council also made alterations to historic street lamps near Glasgow Sheriff Court on Calton Place.

Several lamps have had their black iron lighting bowls removed and replaced with grey steel LED lights.

The council spokesperson referred only to one lamp and said the original columns are still intact, but the lamp on one column has failed completely.

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He added: "To ensure the street continues to be lit appropriately, the lamp has been replaced on a temporary basis with a LED lantern.

"We are trying to procure a lantern that’s similar to the original for a longer term refit."

Mr Sweeney said: "It's so boneheaded. The city tries to do a good thing but just messes it up by making it oppressive.

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"The city's architectural lighting has all been left to wrack and ruin. It's not about money, it's about attitudes, which is something that has been embarrassingly poor in the city."

The politician pointed to the work done in Dublin to create a heritage feature of its historic street lighting, adding: "The real irony is that all of these lamps in Dublin were cast in Glasgow."

Halifax in Nova Scotia also still boasts heritage lighting made in Glasgow, which is similarly protected.

Mr Sweeney said: "Those were the pioneering cities for electric street lighting and Glasgow was one of the first cities in the world to introduce it - one of the great draws to the International Exhibition in 1901 was seeing electric lighting for the first time.

"The city should really lean on that heritage.

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"The Glasgow West Conservation Society in the 1990s sponsored a project to create heritage street lighting you can still see today outside Kelvingrove and on University Avenue and outside the Botanics.

"But it was a short-lived project so could we reintroduce a similar project around Glasgow in the conservation areas?"

Several experts have been in touch with Mr Sweeney to offer help in creating replica lampposts, such as Laings Foundry and William Sugg & Co, which helped in the preservation original gas lamps around London.

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The Glasgow City Council spokesman added: “The decorative bases require to be refurbished and we will look carefully at how this might be achieved within existing resources.

“Three other columns are beyond repair but we will look to source suitable placements, based on the original design.”

Mr Sweeney said: "We must look at the sensitive retention of heritage features. The street lamps are part of the listing of the bridge - it's a massive mistake that's been made.

"There can be no reason to take the base out if they had been properly looked after.

"The bases were originally designed to stop the corrosion caused by dogs urinating on them. Those big chunky bases were designed to give a rigidity to them.

"Our forebears in the early 20th century actually thought these things through."