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Pre PFI Streetlighting of Manchester City Council.
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Author:  GreatNorburyStDepot [ Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:20 am ]
Post subject:  Pre PFI Streetlighting of Manchester City Council.

With 2017 now well and truly in progress, I decided to have a sort through my library of camera images on the PC and transfer them to CD (or DVD in the case of some of the bigger folders). As well as the usual suspects ie holidays, work etc, I have also amassed quite a stack of streetlighting photos.

The oldest images date to around 2007/8 which was when I got my first digital camera. The timing in some respects turned out to be fortunate, as it allowed me to capture the final chunks of Manchester's wonderfully archaic streetlighting network, which was being swept away in what I think was one of the first PFI programmes.

Those who are familiar with the city of Manchester will probably agree that its streetlighting pre PFI, was certainly as interesting as any other city at the time. Certainly back in the 80s, there was still plenty of variety in the shape of lanterns, columns and other surviving infrastructure, often long obsolete, totally taken for granted but still to be hard at work.

In the 1950s and 60s, Manchester's street lighting department was often a trend setter, featuring in many articles of the time. With its own comprehensive test and photometric laboratory, once based at The Polygon, Ardwick, Manchester's streetlighting was amongst the most up to date. Later years however, meant that much needed investment was curtailed, replaced with a policy of "make do and mend". This however meant much of the older equipment had a long service life, making it into the photo albums (and sheds) of enthusiasts.

Anyway, here is a list of the more notable examples to be found. I daresay other towns and cities could provide a similar inventory. All were still around and working in the 1980s, although when the PFI started, the more eccentric examples had already been replaced.

1. Converted cast iron gas columns, with 1960s swan neck brackets (Didsbury, Levenshulme and Abbey Hey etc. Usually fitted with side entry Beta 5s of all types.

2. Surviving tram / trolleybus traction poles with overhead line feeds.

3. The Adastra "Iris" hexagonal sectional steel column by Poles Ltd. Widely used on A and B routes, often replacing MCED traction poles. Although standard uplift brackets were most commonly fitted to these columns, single and twin arched designs could be found in Didsbury, Miles Plating and near Ancoats. The older circular type at 8m were fitted with a cast concrete plinth and could still be found in Gorton and Openshaw.

4. No sleeves here! Concrete columns generally retained their original bracket (or most of it) for life.

5. Atlas Beta 5s fitted with steel bar anti vandal cages (Clayton, Belle Vue, Ardwick and Gorton).

6. Windswept Eleco GR150s on many columns.

7. Lots of "temporary" overhead feeds from column to column due to underground cable faults. On 5m columns, this involved the strapping of a length of steel angle to raise the new feed well above the passing traffic.  

8. Horstmann timeclocks in Stanton 10F columns in Miles Platting and Gorton.

9. 1920s columns with MCED and the civic heraldry cast on the door. (Brooklands Rd, Wythenshawe).

10. 1950s Phosware lanterns with their huge bowls.

11. Wardle Aeroles with retrofit PECs in Parrswood Rd, Burnage.

12. AC Ford "Fordac" AC714s and the sole surviving AC700 (now preserved).

13. Relite Hyperion A lanterns as originally fitted on Kingsway, Burnage.

14.  S&L Gb507 columns with Hyperion A lanterns on Victoria Avenue, Blackley.

15. Surviving MCED group feeder pillar on Wendover Road, Wythenshawe. Still working with original equipment up to its removal, although only the column next to it was still connected.

16. Pedestrian walkways on housing estates were lit with special  CU columns, with access restricted to step ladders. With steel stub side entry bracket for Beta 5s. the low mounting height meant lanterns had to be fitted with steel bar cages for protection, although many were still vandalised. The access door was about a third of the size of those fitted to standard 5m columns.

There are bound to be more examples which I'll remember in due course. I have included a few pictures, although in hindsight I do regret not capturing more whilst the network was still intact.  

Do other members have recollections of Manchester's streetlighting?

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Author:  Alex [ Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Pre PFI Streetlighting of Manchester City Council.

Thanks, very interesting.

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