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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 6:04 pm 
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The BBC TV center has Thorn Gamma 3s outside it, these can sometimes be seen in news bulletins. A chance discovery however shows that they are not the original lanterns.

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The image is from iPlayer and of a 1970s film so not the best quality but it shows what looks to be Thorn Gamma 1 fluorescents or possibly the smaller but very similar Gamma 2. The distinctive "red top" of the lanterns can just be made out.

From Wikipedia an up to date view:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:00 pm 
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Wow I didn't know about the Gamma 1s being the originals. Great find! I went on a tour of the BBC television centre back in October - the Gamma 3s are all still in a good condition. On night shots of the BBC centre, you can see that they all work.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:03 pm 
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I take it they now run SON, but would have originally been MBF, so including the Gamma 1s that is 3 different light sources in just under 50 years (this June). The columns look to be the the same as from the 70s.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:14 pm 
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Phosco152 wrote:
I take it they now run SON, but would have originally been MBF, so including the Gamma 1s that is 3 different light sources in just under 50 years (this June). The columns look to be the the same as from the 70s.


Yep, they run SON.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:47 pm 
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That screenshot wasn't taken from Delia through the Decades by any chance? ;)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:50 pm 
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I always thought those columns looked older than the gamma 3's...
Makes me wonder about the "poles ltd" columns on the nestle site at York - they have gamma 3's but the columns look older. The columns have similar taper to the gamma 2...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:47 am 
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Alex wrote:
That screenshot wasn't taken from Delia through the Decades by any chance? ;)

It was, I channel hopped just  a bit of vintage film showing concretes on an approach to the M1 came on - no clear view of lanterns in shot - so then decided to watch a bit more to see what else would come up, a few minutes later the Gamma 1s appeared.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:17 pm 
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Yeah it was quite interesting watching that programme as there were many street scenes of the 1970s shown. Those lanterns on the A1 scene were on concrete columns, but as you say, it was hard to work them out.

I was watching a London Underground related DVD-video and it had various shots of Oxford Street during the 1970/80s and it was lit by 'flying saucers' mounted on red columns along the centre of the road. This was certainly unusual! And of course, there were Alpha Eights installed in the Marble Arch area; I can remember seeing surviving ones up until when they were all finally replaced.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:27 pm 
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On the same theme:

Around the turn of the new year was a Panorama special showing several of their features from 1959. The first section about the new town of Harlow caught my eye, so went back over it and grabbed a couple of stills. Rather blurry, but...

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...have you ever seen a post-top lantern that big before? Looks like it used 5-foot fluorescent tubes, any idea who could have produced it? Almost looks like a Gamma One, but bigger and with an enormous wide hat. I have seen a picture of a European lantern that rivals that one in size, don`t recall the manufacturer in that case, but you would have thought a new British town would use British-produced lanterns in the 1950s. Almost certainly not still there though, wonder how long it remained?

Also in the recent Top Gear episode where James May takes one of the designers of the UK`s road signs out and about for a drive, in some vintage footage played during the feature are some early top entry lanterns:

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Not sure where that film was taken, but the lanterns look like they may be for vertical MA mercury lamps. The more distant one on the right in the second picture looks different to the others, possibly a GEC Diffractor or similar. Any ideas?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:53 pm 
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I wonder if the fluorescent lanterns are a GEC design?

The bottom images are actually from BBC4s The Secret Life of the Motorway. James May reused the clips. The square lanterns look like GEC Lewishams, not sure about the other one.

Speaking of which, from TSLotM

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These are the Philips version of the "GEC brick" and were used on the Midlands motorways.

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Where as this image also from TSLotM, is I believe Stevenage. The same image was used on a news article last year on the anniversary of the "new towns".


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