The use of 400w SONT lamps across the city is today no longer a necessity due to the improvements in modern lantern optics. 250w lamps are now perfectly sufficient. To this end, the Philips SGS204 lanterns running 400w lamps have been gradually replaced over the last few years. The last sizeable installation was on Stonehouse Bridge, where 7 of the lanterns met their fate in September 2009. The remaining four 400w lanterns dotted across the city were replaced too in the same month.
250w Philips SGS253 Iridium lanterns are now fitted.
An estate built as part of Devonport's Regeneration has been lit using WRTL Arc 1 lanterns; an unusual choice considering the city standard is the Urbis ZXU1. These Arcs run 70w SONT lamps and have RTE Oasis 2000 cells fitted.
Tucked away around the back of the bingo hall is an AC Ford AC848 lantern. The lantern has recently had a replacement NEMA photocell in the form of an RTE Oasis 2000 cell. Judging by the anti-vandal paint on the column the old one was probably stolen. The cell fitted when the lantern was installed however, was a Horstmann EL26 2-part type, the detector of which can be seen on the lantern connection box.
The replacement of main road concrete columns has been an ongoing pattern for years now, but in recent times it is suddenly noticiable how few are left. One survivor is this wonderful old triangular CU 8m column, which originally had a larger concrete bracket and GEC 'Dioptrion' lantern attached. In years past however, this has been substituted for a more functional plain bracket and Philips MA30 SON lantern. Its replacement is pending though, and the only thing keeping it in place is the constant line of parked cars in front.
In the end the cars were moved, and sadly 2009 saw the installation of an 8m Corus steel shaft instead.
This concrete column is a later design, and was probably installed with the Thorn Alpha 3 lantern in the 1970s. The lantern is switched by an old RTE P10 photocell, which is the oldest type of photocell found in the city, and may have been in place from new.
A road re-lighting scheme in 2009 saw this column removed as new Urbis 'Stirrup' Albany lanterns were installed.
There are now only a handful of these tramway poles left along the old route, and this is one of only 2 to retain old Thorn Alpha 8 lanterns. These date from c1980, and were installed along the whole stretch to replace GEC Dioptrion lanterns running MBF lamps. Prior to the GEC lanterns, gas lanterns were suspended from the same bracket arms. The example below has been modified over the years, and the bracket has been raised up about a metre with the stay-bar being removed at the same time.
This Thorn Gamma 6 is one of only a handful left which are still switched by a timeclock. The clock in this example is a part-night Venner MSQP dating from 1964. This will be original to the Cohen column, and would have controlled an Eleco PT828 or Revo Solumbra lantern running an MBF/U lamp when installed. The Gamma 6 will have been fitted probably in the late 1970s/early 80s. This now runs a 70w SON-I lamp.
A GEC Z8896 lantern fitted with an RTE P10 photocell. This was one of the first type of photocell to be installed across the city. The lantern may well have been installed with a P10, or it may have replaced a failed timeswitch. The lamp is nowadays a 70w SON-I.
Road relighting as part of the Devonport regeneration saw this column removed in 2010.
A GEC ZD6526 with 70w SON-T lamp. This lantern is unusual as it is a version of the Z5670 with the control gear inside the base of the lantern. Unlike the Z5699 however, the gear is actually in the bottom of the lamp compartment.
A GEC Z5699 running a 70w SON-T lamp and fitted with a RTE Oasis 2000 cell which switches a number of columns.
A GEC Z8896 lantern survives in a back lane. It runs a 70w SON-T lamp and is controlled by a RTE Oasis 2000 cell. It would originally have run an 80w Mercury lamp and have been switched by a time clock. If it still was, it certainly would have been replaced. The black paint on the swan neck is non-drying anti-vandal paint. This has been applied as the photocell was being stolen due to its relatively easy access.
Update- October 2005: the lantern has now been replaced by an Urbis ZX1.
An AC Ford AC848 fitted with a 70w SON-T lamp. The lantern lights a small footpath. Switching is by a Sangamo clock in the control box. Judging by the design of the swan neck and finial, some sort of GEC Tungsten lantern probably adorned the neck prior to the geared AC Ford lantern.
The column was replaced in early 2010 as the swan neck bracket had become loose and was no longer safe. A 5m raise & lower column with WRTL Libra lantern was fitted in place of the cast column.
A forgotten installation now in the form of a GEC 'Unknown' lantern on a Stanton concrete column and swan neck. The lantern has lost its outer globe and refractor ring, but still has a lamp. Oddly this is a modern compact fluorescent, and control is by an electronic timeclock in the base. It could be that the column was maintained by nearby flat wardens or owned privately. Whatever the arrangement was, it hasn't been touched for a good few years now.
The column was removed in early summer 2010 as part of the Devonport Regeneration.
A GEC Z8896 lantern running a 70w SON lamp, and controlled by a timeclock. This lantern is on borrowed time as it would have been replaced, were it not for the fact that it is inaccessible. The new estate behind has meant site fences have blocked the column for a year or so. The supply now appears to have been isolated, and it will only be a matter of time before it is removed completely.
Update- August 2006: the column has now been removed. Re-lighting of the street and new estate is by Urbis Sapphire 1 lanterns running 70w CDM-T lamps.
Plymouth Lighting Pictures
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İDavy Warren 2010