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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:00 am 
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Part of my interest in lighting comes from my interest of the past and post war reconstruction of Britain. Britain was trying to move forward from the war and the decades of uncertainty that preceded WW2. Plans were drawn up for several "New Towns" that would aid the reconstruction effort and it was hoped provide the "Utopian" future. Of course it never quite worked out that way...

Lighting wise, this was an age when steel was in short supply so concrete columns were often used and fluorescent lighting was coming of age for streetlighting. This coupled with the post war enthusiasm for design in general, rather than just functionality, and the sheer demand for new lighting equipment to replace damaged or worn out pre-war installations, meant that this was an exciting time for lighting.

The building of the New Towns meant installations could be designed from scratch and the latest designs (or even bespoke designs in the case of Stevenage) were used.

Chris M has already posted these pictures of Harlow:

Chris M. wrote:
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?


Some further digging on the internet has uncovered this clearer shot:

Harlow c1960.

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It appears that this massive style of fluorescent lantern was used elsewhere in the town as this picture shows.

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At the railway station Siemens Kuwait fluorescent lanterns were in use.

Image.

Crawley was another New Town, it extensively used post top fluorescent lanterns mostly GEC types with 2ft tubes for residential lighting. Another collector I know has luckly saved several of these. However it appears that Crawley also used the similar type of massive post top fluorescent as Harlow in the High Street.

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An example of other fluorescent lanterns used is shown here.

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It appears that Basildon also used large fluorescent post tops but these don't appear as large as Crawley or Harlow. They may use 4ft rather than 5ft tubes.

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Meanwhile Stevenage had further unusual lighting - what looks to be a top entry swan neck mounted horizontal fluorescent lantern.

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Corby on the other hand went for massive twin horizontal fluorescents. Images show these lanterns were installed as early as 1955 and were still around in 1965 so may have well lasted into the fuel crisis of the 1970s.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:57 pm 
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Fascinating stuff. Looks like Harlow had quite a few of those enormous super-mushroom lanterns in the beginning, I wonder what happened to them all? Certainly be a center-piece to a lantern collection, it could go in the garden in place of one of those decorative pagodas.

Interesting to see the other types used in other towns too. Such a shame most of them are gone now, I rather like the look of those large fluorescent lights and their often equally huge matching columns. Plenty of attention to detail, back then.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:12 pm 
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Plus the fact that all the towns had individual styles of lighting back then, not like today.

I particularly like those side road post-top fluorescents in Crawley, they look really off the wall by today's standards! I miss fluorescent lighting, it was stylish and I can only vaguely remember it being used from my childhood. I think I was about 5 or 6 when the GEC Z8256s were replaced by Beta 79s in my auntie's street, sad times  :(

I always thought that Skelmersdale was a new town but on flicking through a few old photos it seems that a lot of the streetscenes look much older in origin than the 50s/60s, perhaps Skem just grew in size from a village to a large town in the post-war era, rather than being built from scratch?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:26 pm 
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Skelmersdale was indeed designated a New Town in 1961. I haven't found any interesting pictures yet.. I bet those columns in Corby got sleeved and the Crawley "fat" fluorescent got replaced with a SOX or MBF one...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:31 pm 
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In terms of large towns such as Stevenage, I always associate them with Alpha 3s and SRS201s! And the good thing is, many of these still survive!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:53 pm 
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What about Milton Keynes and it's AEG Stradasole lanterns on curvy columns as pictured by sotonsteve?
http://sotonsteve.fotopic.net/p57460679.html

Very unique and they give the place a continental flavour!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Bit too modern for my tastes... ;)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:05 pm 
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I do like those fluorescents. One day I will get one for my 80w BC tube.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:08 am 
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Phosco152 wrote:
An example of other fluorescent lanterns used is shown here.

Image


I like those, because they seem totally out of proportion to the column! It's like a case of "honey I grew the streetlight!!" :lol: They look comical.

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Meanwhile Stevenage had further unusual lighting - what looks to be a top entry swan neck mounted horizontal fluorescent lantern.

Image


That's just strange...

It'd be great to just happen to stumble upon an abonded building which just happens to have some old lights like these and the Harlow 'umbrella' giant post tops inside. It'll never happen but we can dream...

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 2:51 pm 
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mazeteam wrote:
Phosco152 wrote:
An example of other fluorescent lanterns used is shown here.

Image


I like those, because they seem totally out of proportion to the column! It's like a case of "honey I grew the streetlight!!" :lol: They look comical.


Yeah, now I come to think of it those lanterns look very much like some GEC post-tops we had in Blackpool except they were SON but they were fitted on main roads, notably the Promenade and town centre streets. Therefore I wonder if these were actually main road lanterns incorrectly installed on side road columns. I agree, they do look brilliant and really quirky though, I would love to have seen this installation in the flesh, if only I had a time machine...  ;)


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