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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2011 6:33 pm 
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Excellent pictures.... And unless Simon C goes out the day before they are removed, these may well be the last 'switch on' pictures of the Candles and Festivals in use. The same reason for the demise of the Candles is also why York's Festivals went: the upright design meant the light flux went outwards instead of downwards and didn't light the road well enough; also, the 4 tubes per lantern also means quite high costs involved with revisiting the same lanterns regularly to replace yet another tube.

The wall mounted Two-Forty's are well worth saving, and certainly would make an interesting addition to any collection. I myself would like a Candle, if they become available, and ideally 2 sets of wall-mounting brackets (so I could mount the Candle and my Festival onto a house wall in the future)... I well expect Simon has his eyes on the modern Candle conversion as well as an original Candle, so as to compare both side-by-side.

It will be a sad day when these go... as it will be the last vertical fluorescent installation to light a main roadway. Other Festivals exist, but these are limited to civic squares and amenity areas.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 7:28 pm 
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Simon C posted this on the Yahoo group.

It mentions only 19 of the candles. Simon's history lists a total of 49 surviving candles in 2008. Does this mean some will still be removed, but others are safe? Also does this mean some form of refurbishment on the survivors will be carried out or does the listing not include retaining them as operational?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 9:16 pm 
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Phosco152 wrote:
Simon C posted this on the Yahoo group.

That is fantastic news!

on their web site, The Twentieth Century Society wrote:
They had been going to be replaced, so its good news.

Yes, with new metal-halide "needles" already breathing down the necks of some of them, their listed status coming into force today was just in the nick of time!

I wonder who was behind the campaign to get them listed? Was it The Twentieth Century Society themselves. Although they have made no mention of their involvement in getting them listed, they would certainly already have been aware of architect Sir Albert Richardson through their work.

Fantastic also to see that The Twentieth Century Society have linked to Simon Cornwell's excellent write-up about the Richardson Candles as their primary source of information for visitors to their site. Although Simon's write-up has been studied in depth by street lighting enthusiasts up and down the land (it was certainly my only source of reference when I planned my trip there) it is fabulous to know there will be a new influx of visitors to his page as a result of today's announcement. Perhaps these visitors from The Twentieth Century Society will stay a while and see why the history and heritage of Britain's street lighting should fascinate them as much as the history and heritage of Britain's architecture does (or, dare I say it, mourn at its near-complete absence these days).

Perhaps Simon's excellent write-up played a part in getting them listed!

At this early stage, it is difficult to know why only nineteen Candles have been listed when there are more than twice that many still in existence. Will they keep just the wall-mounted ones, as they can be disconnected and left there in perpetuity without any risk of them being knocked down. Else I wonder if they have a certain location in mind - perhaps the one or two streets which have the highest tourist footfall, where they know they have enough Candles to make up a complete installation without casual replacements to spoil the view.

In an ideal world, I'd like them to be placed on brand new strong columns that exactly replicate the existing columns (which show the Candles at their best) but sited at the back of the kerb so they cannot be knocked down, as so many of them have in the past. I have no idea how to solve the lighting issue, apart from perhaps creating a circular venetian blind-style louvre to direct the light down (as you see on bollard lights) which would run the full-height of the 'cone'. The cone would have to be replaced with a less opaque version to further help direct the light downwards. The louvre could also be modified to block backspill onto buildings if needed. It is not beyond the expertise of lighting engineers to create a better solution than the one they tried a few years ago with shielded metal halide lamps in the top and bottom of the Candle, especially with LEDs now offering the opportunity to create far more optically-controlled directional light.

And by listing only half of the Candles, it means they can put the rest in storage and have enough spare parts to keep them going for the next fifty years and beyond!


Last edited by David on Wed May 11, 2011 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 11:52 pm 
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I would well expect that it's the wall-mounted versions that are being listed. Whether this includes any wall-mounted festivals or those two-forties, we have yet to find out.... In addition to what may happen with the rest of the candles

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 7:42 am 
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It's a fantastic idea but I think there's a danger of the listed candles becoming features, rather than functioning lanterns. I for one would hate that idea as i believe things should be periodically used, not just left as an ornament.
Their condition would decline without them being used and maintained also.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 11:57 am 
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Stelmer wrote:
It's a fantastic idea but I think there's a danger of the listed candles becoming features, rather than functioning lanterns. I for one would hate that idea as i believe things should be periodically used, not just left as an ornament.
Their condition would decline without them being used and maintained also.

The Candles were in a shocking condition when I visited a few weeks ago - not in a physical way (they still look magnificent and strong), but in an operational way. About a quarter of them were dayburning, another quarter of them failed to light at all when night came, and the tubes in several more were misfiring, causing the lantern to randomly dim and brighten, or randomly light and extinguish.  It was very sad to see.

It was as if the council knew the PFI was coming, and had consciously made the decision not to throw any more resources at them to keep them going. Alternatively, perhaps the council have been maintaining them as best as they could with their available resources, but the gear and internal wiring is so ancient now that no matter how hard they try, the lanterns will randomly misfire, dayburn or fail to light at all.

In non-PFI'd counties like Essex, the contractors keep old lanterns going until the time and cost of call-outs threatens to exceed the cost of putting a new one up (Colchester's Alpha Sixes are a good example of this). Putting up a new lantern is not a luxury Cambridge has when it comes to the Richardson Candles, so unless they are refurbished soon, the Candles will simply extinguish themselves and become ornaments given enough time!

The recent installation of Thorn Alumets in Colchester's Lion Walk Shopping Centre is enough evidence to prove that, if Cambridge has the desire, they could refurbish the Candles with new gear and more efficient lamps to help them meet modern lighting standards.

David wrote:
In an ideal world, I'd like them to be placed on brand new strong columns that exactly replicate the existing columns...but sited at the back of the kerb so they cannot be knocked down

Whoops, I meant the back of the pavement! Being sited at the back of the kerb has been many of the Candles' downfall - quite literally - in recent years.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 5:13 pm 
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Stelmer wrote:
It's a fantastic idea but I think there's a danger of the listed candles becoming features, rather than functioning lanterns. I for one would hate that idea as i believe things should be periodically used, not just left as an ornament.
Their condition would decline without them being used and maintained also.


The candles should be used during festivals, I'd hate to see some rather fabulous lantern being left to rot out in the open.  

David wrote:
The Candles were in a shocking condition when I visited a few weeks ago - not in a physical way (they still look magnificent and strong), but in an operational way. About a quarter of them were dayburning, another quarter of them failed to light at all when night came, and the tubes in several more were misfiring, causing the lantern to randomly dim and brighten, or randomly light and extinguish. It was very sad to see.


Maybe Cambridge should start 'adopt a lantern' as we would adopt them all.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 6:27 pm 
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In all fairness, i'd love to see them internally restored to modern standards. If these lanterns still use the original gear and wiring, this is over half a century old. It will not last forever and has done it's time for so many years.

Given the opportunity and parts, i'd restore one for free. Seeing such a beautiful design classic in it's idealistic surrounds for another 20+ years would be payment for me.


I suppose the future still lies with the Council. They are listed now and doing anything to modernise them may breach the terms. I really think that they will be disconnected and become a part of the building they're attached to. Perhaps one or two owners may adopt the lanterns in the future.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 11:22 pm 
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David wrote:
In non-PFI'd counties like Essex, the contractors keep old lanterns going until the time and cost of call-outs threatens to exceed the cost of putting a new one up

This is what happened with York's Revo Festivals... At some point the lanterns had been 'refurbished' and two Thorn double battens fitted inside each lantern so the switchstart gear would provide a bit more reliability and so that T8 lamps could be used. But time and again lamps would fail (and the glowbottle starters meant lamps would flick. It's annoying enough when a light does that in a shop, nevermind on a street), and so the crew would be out to change a lamp, then a few weeks would go by and another would go, and so on. Couple that with the poor (by modern standards) light spread along the road surface was what spelled out their demise.

As has been said, the Listed lights in Cambridge are 19 - not all of them. This does give the impression that in the future you could walk down a certain street or two in cambridge and see the modern lights in use and there on the wall are the old Candles, that are not used and look dull and dusty and just forgotten about. If I were the owner of a building to which one of these Listed lanterns was attached to, then I'd go about seeking permission to refurbish the inside to use modern T5 lamps and then operate it off the building's supply.

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PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2011 2:41 pm 
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Simon C has updated his history of the Richardson Candles. The listing apparently applies to those on St Johns and Trinity Street, which would suggest both wall and column mounted ones would be retained.


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