12e. Off the A404 Harrow Road, Stonebridge, London. Located a short distance along a private road serving several businesses stands a long-abandoned trolleybus pole supporting a Metropolitan Vickers SO-50 90 W SOX (originally, 140 W SO/H) lantern. Launched in 1948, this was the first all-plastic street lighting lantern ever made, and seventy years later, when the following pictures were taken, the lantern is now extremely rare, though the design was pioneering, and numerous other manufacturers would go on to produce plastic-based lanterns of their own in the decades that followed. This installation is believed to be the last of its kind on the site, which was occupied by Stonebridge Park trolleybus depot until January 1962, when trolleybus operation from this depot ceased. The site continued to be used as a bus depot until 1981, and so this wonderful old installation may not have operated for almost forty years at the time of photographing.

The old lantern still casts a rather majestic presence in its sentry position by the main gate.

 

Remnants of the supports for the overhead trolleybus wires were still extant in 2018.

 

The pole is topped with a spherical finial.

 

The underside of the bowl is too grubby to determine whether a lamp is still fitted or not; whatever the case, the lantern is no longer operational - the conduit seen feeding the lantern stops abruptly a little further down the pole.

 

A small break is present in the front of the canopy, but the rest of the lantern appears intact.

 

The lamp control gear is likely to be housed within the lantern - there being no separate gear boxes (or the remains of such) attached to the pole.

 

London Underground's Bakerloo line passes immediately behind the trees in the background; it was from this that I clapped eyes on this installation some years ago; only working out where it was more recently.

 

The aerodynamic canopy is, by far, the most identifiable feature of the SO-50 lantern.

 

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