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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:00 am 
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In the London and the South East thread, Rojojnr wrote:
The MAs on the Essex junctions (24-26) still remain for now, but whether they will soon be replaced as well is unknown. It's just been reported by Essex County Council that they will be going all LED from 2017 onwards, so it's very likely!

Further to my post about a month ago, the local newspapers are now reporting that the £9.2 million spend on LED street lighting by Essex County Council between 2016 and 2018 will pay for the purchase and installation of 19,000 LED street lanterns. These lanterns are in locations that meet Essex County Council's part-night lighting exception criteria, i.e. they stay on all night. Lanterns that switch off for between four and five hours a night are unaffected.

Adding the 19,000 LED street lights to be installed between 2016 and 2018 to the 1,700 that were installed in 2015's LED trial will bring the number of LED street lights under the Council's control to 20,700 by 2018, which represents 16.3% of Essex County Council's 127,000 street lights. That is at the lower end of my estimates, so I wonder if the 127,000 total also includes sign lights and illuminated bollards (although sign lights and illuminated bollards have reduced significantly since "austerity" came along).

The surprising conclusion is that if just 16.3% of the authority's street lights are to be LED by 2018, that means the rest will stay as SOX and SON for the time being (the County Council has never embraced white light in any form until now, except for localised beautification schemes, e.g. Clacton Town Centre), so there will be still be plenty of vintage Atlas, ELECO, GEC, Philips, Phosco REVO, Siemens and Thorn SOX and SON lanterns in Essex in three years time!

sotonsteve wrote:
As for Essex moving towards LED, it was only a matter of time. Surely they will now change the requirements for developers of new housing estates to install LED.

I imagine a policy revision away from SON may be on the cards soon, and we may also begin to see LED casual replacements instead of the current policy of SON casual replacements. Such a policy revision will see the proportion of LED street lighting slowly increase over time without the need for heavy upfront capital investment.

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Having said that, the policy of using SON casual replacements in a county dominated by SOX works well as the colour temperatures (SOX at 1,800K and SON at 2,200K) are a close match.

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Although SON casual replacements in SOX-lit streets are now becoming a common sight in Essex since a policy switch away from SOX a few years ago, such casual replacements probably go unnoticed by the general public due to the colour temperatures being so close. LED casual replacements with a far higher colour temperature would arguably look clumsy and disjointed in the SOX-dominated streets of Essex. The above two photographs were taken in Frinton-on-Sea earlier this month (March 2016).

The East Anglian Daily Times article linked above contains an image of this rather interesting street lantern:

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Although there is absolutely no prospect of Colchester's remaining Thorn Alpha Sixes being converted to LED, I imagine they would look just like this if they were!


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:24 pm 
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Frinton-on-Sea has always sat a little uneasily among its near-neighbours of Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze. With its wide tree-lined avenues and large detached houses, it was purposely-built to attract the upper-middle classes - to Essex no less - and many covenants were created to protect the town's way of life accordingly. The absence of fast food joints, cafes and kiosks along the seafront keeps the town litter-free. Buses were banned from passing over the level crossing gates until the 1980s, fish and chips didn't arrive in the town until 1992 (after a bitter planning battle), and the town didn't get its first pub until 2000 (after another bitter planning battle).

Even today the town still has a 1950s feel to it, and that trend has been reflected in its street lighting. When Essex County Council moved away from MBF/U in the 1970s and SOX casual replacements started appearing in mercury-lit streets for the first time, the most upmarket area of Frinton - the area inside the sorely-missed level crossing gates - escaped such an indignity, and the Council were still installing new MBF/U Phosco P111s in the town (to match the town's existing street lighting) up until Phosco removed the MBF/U option from the P111 a few years ago.

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A mile of mercury. Here is The Esplanade, the road that runs along Frinton sea front, photographed in December 1997. Despite Essex County Council moving away from MBF/U in the 1970s, there are no non-MBF/U casual replacements to be seen here.

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The same scene photographed eighteen years later in September 2015. The advancing years of the original Concrete Utilities "Edinburgh" columns has coincided with the removal of the MBF/U option from the Phosco P111, with inevitable consequences.

Although metal halide, fluorescent or LED could have ensured white light continuity for Frinton, Essex County Council has, to my knowledge, never embraced white light except for local beautification schemes and the limited trial of LED in 2015. Having said that, the Council has just announced that it is rolling out LED lighting only to locations where the street lighting remains on all night.

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April 2007 - Frinton sea front was originally lit with mercury Phosco P109s on CU Edinburgh columns. Mercury P109 casual replacements were originally used for knockdowns, but in recent years the Phosco P111 has been the lantern of choice.

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September 2015 - The Esplanade between Frinton Golf Club (at the southern end of the town) and Connaught Avenue (the main shopping street) showing new SON P111s interspersed with older MBF/U P111s.

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March 2016 - two views of The Esplanade between the Crescent Gardens and Connaught Avenue. Frinton would never entertain the idea of multicoloured seafront illuminations, but the current mix of MBF/U and SON lighting is a good try!

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March 2016 - The Esplanade between the Crescent Gardens and the other end of the town. Once the far corner is turned, you are in Walton-on-the-Naze.

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September 2015 - the original part of Frinton (inside the level crossing) was lit with mercury Phosco P111s on CU "Byway X" columns. These P111s were replaced on a like-for-like basis until Phosco stopped selling the MBF/U P111, upon which SON P111s casual replacements started to appear.

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Once in a while, even a rogue SOX casual replacement would appear in mercury-lit Frinton, like in Hadleigh Road above. The above photograph and all the photographs below were taken two weeks ago (March 2016).

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The change from MBF/U to SON has gathered momentum in the last year or so, and the gentle night-time appearance of the last mercury-lit town that I know of in Essex is changing significantly. This stretch of Hadleigh Road on the left escapes for now, but the top end of The Crescent on the right has been changed over to SON.

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Evidence in The Crescent that column replacements are ongoing.

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Looking back along The Crescent to where the previous-but-one photograph was taken. One thing for sure is that, even though the quality of the light has reduced, the quantity of light from the new SON P111s is far greater than the previous MBF/U P111s.

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This corner in The Crescent has escaped the new lighting for now and is still bathed in gentle mercury light.

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Many other roads, for example Old Parsonage Way above, have fared less well. A further erosion of once-high standards is also evident here - Phosco P567s are being used to replace P111s.

Although Essex County Council are not obliged to use P111s except in the town's conservation area - circa. half of the upmarket area that originally had P111s - they have done so in the past to retain Frinton's unique character. However, it seems that austerity is now king and there is no money left in the budget for any specials. The Frinton Residents Association would like all of the town inside the level crossing (the "upmarket" area of Frinton) to retain the P111.

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To add further upset, it appears that the erosion of Frinton's unique character has been underway for some time judging by the inconsistent mounting heights in Pole Barn Lane.

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Thankfully there are still some unspoilt pockets of mercury left in Frinton to enjoy for a little while longer, e.g. Hadleigh Road as viewed in the opposite direction of the tenth image in this post. There are no inconsistent mounting heights here!

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Another part of Hadleigh Road that is still enjoying the gentle glow of mercury lighting for the time being. Sadly such installations are on borrowed time.

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And this fantastic new faux-Art deco building on The Esplanade - which pays homage to Frinton's 1930s Art deco houses - will look a little less fantastic when it is illuminated by a SON casual replacement on the street outside!

So in conclusion, the last mercury-lit town that I know of in Essex is losing this unique feature to the onward march of high pressure sodium. Frinton did so well to carry on getting new MBF/U lanterns installed for so long considering the decision to stop installing new MBF/U lanterns elsewhere in Essex was taken over 40 years ago.

Although it seemed like Frinton-on-Sea enjoyed special status to allow new mercury lanterns to be installed until just a few years ago, the squeeze of austerity on the Council's lighting budget, the impending mercury ban and the withdrawal of the Phosco P111 MBF/U option has ended an amazingly long run of daytime and night-time lighting consistency in a rather unique town.


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 4:16 pm 
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Cracking pictures David, and an excellent history to go with it. Just goes to show despite the march of LED, there are still gems about - for the moment.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:37 pm 
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Phosco152 wrote:
Cracking pictures David, and an excellent history to go with it. Just goes to show despite the march of LED, there are still gems about - for the moment.
Thank you Phosco152. It's a shame that Frinton couldn't seamlessly transfer from the mercury Phosco P111 to the LED Phosco P111 and jump non-white light sources altogether, but until Essex County Council's policy changes away from SON, it looks like Frinton will be gradually turning orange.

Some of Frinton's Phosco P111s are now over 50 years old. This photograph of The Galleon and Gardens in August 1965, has been uploaded to the www.Frinton.org website:

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The Galleon and Gardens in August 1965, from the www.Frinton.org website.

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The same scene, with the same lamp-post still going strong, photographed last weekend (April 2016).

All the photographs in this post were taken in Frinton last weekend (April 2016), unless otherwise stated.

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The southern end of Connaught Avenue has just been re-lit, sadly ending the similarly long reign of the Revo Horizons along this thoroughfare (see these online photographs: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3).

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Thankfully there are still a few Horizons left, like this one near the junction of Connaught Avenue and The Esplanade.

In the absence of the Horizons, it's the long reign of the mercury Phosco P111 that makes Frinton unique in Essex. Last Sunday was a lovely sunny day, and an ideal opportunity to supplement my last post of night-time photographs with some daytime photographs of Frinton's Phosco P111s. Warning: very long post!

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A close-up of one of Frinton's original-spec Phosco P111s, some of which are over 50 years old. These are distinguishable by their pale blue colour, slightly mauve glass refractor ring and octagonal base which perfectly fit the octagonal CU "Byway X" columns.

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Some of the cones on the original-spec Phosco P111s have turned cloudy after 50 years of UV exposure...

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...and a smaller proportion of cones have turned green for the same reason.

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When concrete columns started to go out of fashion, Phosco dropped the octagonal base and replaced it with a circular one. That makes this pale blue Phosco P111 one of the last pale blue-coloured P111s to be installed in Frinton.

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In hindsight, the pale blue Phosco P111 and the octagonal CU "Byway X" column suited upmarket Frinton perfectly and helped impress upon tourists that they were visiting somewhere a little bit special.

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In the lantern "timeline", we reach the first non-pale blue casual replacement Phosco P111s to be installed in Frinton. These were practically the same as the original-spec P111s but with the standard black finish.

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After the colour change, the next change I noticed in Frinton's P111 casual replacements was the absence of the glass refractor ring. These were installed over a number of years and Frinton still has many dozens of these variants still extant to this day.

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Also installed over many years, and with plenty of good examples surviving in Frinton to this day, was the Phosco P111 with the opaque cone.

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After a good run of many years for the opaque P111 and the refractorless P111, the refractor ring made a reappearance, and was twice the size of the previous version. I think this was the last option available before Phosco moved the bulb up inside the hood of the lantern to create the P111 cut-off version.

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The most unusual P111 in Frinton pays homage to the P109.

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The most recent variant of the P111 to arrive in Frinton is the cut-off version.

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Frinton continued to see the cut-off P111 in MBF-U installed while it was still on sale, in keeping with the rest of the town's mercury P111s.

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After all these variations of the Phosco P111 over the last 40, possibly 50 years, the mercury version was discontinued by Phosco.

Essex County Council started installing the SON version instead, which now brings Frinton in line with the current street lighting policy throughout the rest of Essex.

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One thing you'll never see in Frinton is a SOX Phosco P111, like this one in Colchester's Dutch Quarter. This photograph was taken in October 2013.

The P111s in Colchester's Dutch Quarter may have also started off as MBF/U and fallen victim to the 1970s energy crisis. I do not know if SOX P111s came with that practically useless refractor ring (in this instance) fitted as standard.

Having reviewed how Frinton and Walton Urban District Council and latterly Essex County Council have done incredibly well to maintain lantern uniformity for over half a century, a walk around Frinton last Sunday also indicated that the original lanterns and some of their casual replacements are beginning to tire. After over 50 years in service for some of them, this cannot come as a surprise.

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This day-burner was spotted in Holland Road.

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Some of the P111s have damaged cones, which are surviving in service and keeping the insides dry thanks to the copious application of electrical tape. There are enough P111s in the town like this to warrant the County Council ordering a dozen or so spare P111 cones from Phosco and replacing the damaged ones.

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This P111 had lost its cone...

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...but the cone hasn't gone far.

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A rather alarming death for one of the town's original P111s.

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And this one was gone altogether.

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Not quite a perfect fit, but this clever use of a Thorn Gamma 6 cone keeps this Phosco P111 in nightly service.

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Even some of the town's more recent casual replacements are ageing. Some of the later P111s' new plastic refractor rings are struggling to cope with the heat or are yellowing from the mercury lamp's UV light.

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This CU Byway X column is struggling to stay upright.

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And a scene familiar to many towns - a failed concrete column cut off at the shoulder and wrapped in electrical warning tape.

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This is one of the latest P111s to appear in Frinton, but it doesn't look like it will last very long. Perhaps the replacement Phosco P567 is already on order.

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And this P111, also recently installed, has gone topless!

To close this post, here are how some of the night scenes in my last post look in daylight:
David wrote:
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A mile of mercury. Here is The Esplanade, the road that runs along Frinton sea front, photographed in December 1997. Despite Essex County Council moving away from MBF/U in the 1970s, there are no non-MBF/U casual replacements to be seen here.
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David wrote:
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March 2016 - The Esplanade between the Crescent Gardens and the other end of the town. Once the far corner is turned, you are in Walton-on-the-Naze.
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David wrote:
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The change from MBF/U to SON has gathered momentum in the last year or so, and the gentle night-time appearance of the last mercury-lit town that I know of in Essex is changing significantly. This stretch of Hadleigh Road on the left escapes for now, but the top end of The Crescent on the right has been changed over to SON.
Image

David wrote:
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This corner in The Crescent has escaped the new lighting for now and is still bathed in gentle mercury light.
Image

David wrote:
Image
Many other roads, for example Old Parsonage Way above, have fared less well. A further erosion of once-high standards is also evident here - Phosco P567s are being used to replace P111s.
Image

David wrote:
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Thankfully there are still some unspoilt pockets of mercury left in Frinton to enjoy for a little while longer, e.g. Hadleigh Road as viewed in the opposite direction of the tenth image in this post. There are no inconsistent mounting heights here!
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David wrote:
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Another part of Hadleigh Road that is still enjoying the gentle glow of mercury lighting for the time being. Sadly such installations are on borrowed time.
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David wrote:
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And this fantastic new faux-Art deco building on The Esplanade - which pays homage to Frinton's 1930s Art deco houses - will look a little less fantastic when it is illuminated by a SON casual replacement on the street outside!
Image


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 3:44 pm 
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Once again, top pics David. Just goes to show what a timeless lantern the P111 is, even though the modern versions don't seem as robust as the originals!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2016 7:04 pm 
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Brilliant - thanks David


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PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2016 11:01 pm 
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Thank you Phosco152 and Alex for your kind comments.  :)

Having had an (inexplicable) interest in street lighting for as long as I can remember, every now and then I have a desire to walk along mercury-lit streets in quiet enjoyment and appreciation. Such walks may bring back memories of my grandparents (who lived in Frinton-on-Sea) and the late-night dog walks with my Grandad. The street lamp outside their house in Hadleigh Road was an original-spec pale-blue Phosco P111. Else such a walk down memory lane may remind me of Coopers Lane in Clacton-on-Sea (also mercury-lit at the time) where we lived for the first 10 years of my life (circa. 1975 to 1985). The street lamp outside our house at the time was a GEC Z5671.

I'm blessed to live in an area of the country (north east Essex) where MBF/U is still used in sufficiently high quantities to indulge in such nostalgia, for the time being at least.

Frinton-on-Sea is the best town by far for street lighting enthusiasts to see mercury-lit streets, but Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze still have mercury fixtures (installed before Essex's switch to SOX in the 1970s) in nightly service. They are happy to be re-lamped while stocks of mercury lamps are still available.

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Having said that, no new MBF/U fixtures since the 1970s and the expiration of the existing mercury stock through column or lantern old age / road traffic accidents means that mercury lanterns are now the exception rather than the norm, e.g Coopers Lane in Clacton-on-Sea above. The mercury lantern above is the only one left in a street once lit by GEC Z5641s and Z5671s.

All photographs in this post were taken in April and May 2016.

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There are still pockets of mercury to be found outside Frinton, e.g. Windsor Avenue in Clacton-on-Sea above.

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Another view of Windsor Avenue, Clacton-on-Sea. GEC Z5641s can still be found in Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea (the old Clacton Urban District Council area).

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Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea and Holland-on-Sea switched to the GEC Z5671 when it was launched by GEC in the mid-1960s, meaning that these Z5641s must now be 50 years old (my GEC Z5641 from Holland-on-Sea was dated 1959), but you wouldn't be able to tell how old they are just by looking at them, as they have aged far better than lanterns that came out 30 years later like the Davis GR526, Philips SGS203 and Philips MI26.

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There are still a few roads (outside Frinton-on-Sea) that have stayed exclusively mercury by avoiding road traffic accidents etc, e.g. Norwood Avenue in Clacton-on-Sea above. Note that the GEC Z5641s originally in this street have expired and been casually replaced with Z5671s and, in the closest instance, a GEC Z5714, which was GEC's last throw of the dice at mercury post-tops, at least in the Clacton area.

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Norwood Avenue, Clacton-on-Sea by night. The discoloured cones do really produce a light this green, just like we remember them!

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And for additional 1980s nostalgia, Clacton (and most of the rest of Essex) has now reverted back to part-night lighting. The sky glow in the background is from the street lighting in the substantial Valley Farm Holiday Park.


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 7:12 am 
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Once again great pics, not only of the lanterns but the now very rare style of column, which I think are made by CU.


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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2016 12:20 pm 
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Phosco152 wrote:
Once again great pics, not only of the lanterns but the now very rare style of column, which I think are made by CU.
Thank you again. Yes, these are the Concrete Utilities "Utility Major" column. Although there are hundreds of them still going in the old Clacton Urban District Council area (Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea, Holland-on-Sea), I have rarely seen them elsewhere.

Locally, they were installed in the 1950s and early to mid-1960s. In the mid-1960s, the CUDC stopped installing them and switched to the GEC ZP3000 coloured plastic column instead (as well as switching away from the GEC Z5641 to the GEC Z5671). Accordingly, all the Utility Major columns in Clacton are assumed to be in excess of 50 years old.

Furthermore, many of them were apparently intentionally made with that green colour, as were the Concrete Utilities "Avenue 3DNN" and "Highway 'X' 35" columns installed on the main roads.

I was lucky enough to be handed this leaflet when my Dad took me to visit Tendring District Council's Civil Engineer Ray Smith back in 1986 (Tendring District Council replaced the old Clacton Urban District Council in 1974). My Dad arranged this visit due to my interest in street lighting.

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Ray informed me that the above photograph was taken close to what is now the Clacton County High School in Walton Road, Clacton-on-Sea.

While they are still going strong, Clacton's Utility Major columns have seen an assortment of casual replacements installed on them when the original GEC Z5641s have failed:

• In the mercury lineage, this would have been the GEC Z5671, GEC Z5679, GEC ZD6526, GEC Z5714 (note: my last post referred to the Z5714 as the Z5719 in error - now corrected), Siemens Z567012NU and most recently the mercury Thorn Gamma 6.

• In the low pressure sodium lineage, this would have been the GEC Z5678, GEC Z5713, Thorn Beta 5, Philips MI26 and most recently the low pressure sodium Thorn Gamma 6. I do not recall ever seeing a low pressure sodium Siemens version of the GEC Z5678 installed locally.

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Bespoke brackets were added to some Utility Major columns from the 1980s onwards to enable them to have side-entry lanterns like the Thorn Beta 5 and the Philips MI26 fitted. This photograph of one of the most recent SOX conversions was taken in Clacton-on-Sea in October 2013.

Some Utility Major columns also came with an original concrete bracket and, where installed in Clacton-on-Sea, held a GEC Z9480 lantern.

• In the high pressure sodium lineage, these casual replacements would have been the Thorn Gamma 6, Thorn Riga and most recently the Phosco P567 / P567-A. Note that high pressure sodium casual replacements didn't start appearing in Clacton's street until the mid-2000s, hence GEC and Siemens do not feature.

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A new lease of life - the current trend is to post-top local Utility Major columns with Phosco P567s (now P567-As). This photograph was also taken in Clacton-on-Sea in October 2013.

Despite their age, there seems to be little rush to remove these Utility Major columns (thankfully!), unless structural problems are discovered or they are knocked down in road traffic accidents.


Last edited by David on Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 5:05 pm 
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The old Stewart & Lloyd columns on the old A12 at Copdock have been replaced with shorter, unpainted columns supporting LED lanterns.


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