It's unfortunate that modern lighting installations just don't have any of the character of the old installations. The best examples of these are undoubtedly cast columns fitted with swan necks. This example complete with AC Ford lantern looks so much more at home in this quiet residential setting than any modern steel column ever could.
This installation in Hartley Vale is unique in Plymouth for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is the only Thorn Alpha 3 lantern to be found mounted on an electricity board pole. Secondly, it is the only Alpha 3 lantern not to be drilled for a photocell. Switching in this case is by the switched overhead wire, which is controlled by a Venner timeclock. This installation looks pretty much original and it still retains its old GEC metal control box housing the control gear and protective fuse.
An unusual installation of a GEC Z5590 lantern on a Stanton concrete column with swan neck. The lamp is a 70w SON-T, and control is by a 1961 Venner MSQP time clock. The fact that the clock predates the Z5590 lantern, and also the way that the lantern is not fitted snugly to the bracket suggests that some other top entry lantern once adorned this column. Closer inspection reveals that the metal piece on the thread just above the lantern is in fact the very top part of a GEC Brookvale lantern- obviously proving impossible to remove when the Z5590 was fitted.
Update- September 2005: I took this picture just in time- the lantern has now been replaced by an Urbis ZXU1 due to time switch removals.
On one of the steepest roads in the city a pair of 5m CU concrete columns can be found. These carry GEC Z8896 lanterns running 70w SON lamps. The lanterns have 2 types of photocells in use; the first being an old thermal RTE P10 cell, the second a 2-part type.
Update- Autumn 2008: both columns have now been replaced with new steel shafts and Urbis 70w lanterns.
An AC Ford AC848 lantern with 70w SON-I lamp. Control is by a SELC 849 minicell on the lantern canopy. The column is a typical 'Plymouth' design cast type, while the swan neck is believed to be of Bleeco design.
Another of the 'Plymouth' design of cast column, but this time with a more unusual control box. This AC Ford box is not the standard large size used with remote-geared lanterns, and is probably not quite big enough to fit control gear, cutout and timeclock. This is irrelevant nowadays anyway as a geared Davis GR70 lantern is fitted to the swan neck.
A Simplex Diadem lantern running a 70w SON lamp. The column is a Stewart & Lloyd fitted with a swan neck bracket.
Another very rare find in the city is this GEC Z5590 fitted with a glass teardop globe. As far as I am aware, there are no other globes of this type surviving in the city. The lamp is now a 70w SON-I, and control is by a 1965 Venner MSQP clock. The column is a 5m CU concrete.
Update- October 2005: Sadly the lantern has been taken down and an Urbis ZXU1 fitted.
An AC Ford AC848 lantern with a 70w SON lamp. Control is by a SELC 841 cell on the lantern canopy. The column is a decorative type with a base compartment. There are a number of cast columns along this road, including a number of this style, and they have been retained as the road is in a conservation area.
Here is a rare sight- a Revo Prefect lantern. The lamp, although originally Mercury, is now a 70w SON-I. Switching is by a 1968 part-night Venner MSQP time clock, and the outer globe is a glass example. The column is a 5m Cohen with a swan neck bracket.
A 70w SON GEC Z8596 lantern controlled by a Venner MSQP timeclock. The column is a 5m Cohen steel.
Update- August 2005: the lantern has been replaced by an Urbis ZXU1 due to time clock removals.
A couple of 70w SON GEC Z5699 lanterns on a footpath. The columns are 5m Fabrikat steels.
Update- Spring 2008: both post-top lanterns have now been replaced with modern Urbis SON lanterns.
A 70w SON GEC Z8896 lantern on a 6m Fabrikat column. The very small outreach makes the installation look different to other similar installations in the city.
Plymouth Lighting Pictures
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İDavy Warren 2010