133b. Bretby Business Park, off Ashby Road East, Bretby Installed around much of the Business Park's internal perimeter road are a number of 25 ft (8 m) folded Thorn aluminium columns supporting Alpha 3 lanterns, made under Thorn's Atlas marque. These pre-date the Business Park's existence on the site; originally, the buildings were constructed for the the National Coal Board [NCB]'s Central Engineering Establishment in 1955, becoming the Mining Research and Development Establishment in 1969, following the CEE's merger with London's Mining Research Establishment. These installations are likely to date from around then too.

With thanks to the Business Park's management for granting permission for me to visit the site and take these pictures.

A 35 ft (10 m) double-arm column is situated at the entrance to the Business Park, adjacent the security office.

The two lanterns are fitted with LED 'Cob' lamps these days; something that I (jokingly) described as "sacrilege" to one of the site's electricians! He told me that, ideally, he would like to replace the lanterns with dedicated LED lanterns, but prohibitive costs of doing this meant that the LED lamps were a more cost-effective measure in the short-term.

Single-armed examples made up the majority of the aluminium columns.

This Alpha 3 was also fitted with an LED lamp. Notice the "atlas ALPHA THREE" identification cast into the lantern's rear section, and the tape that has had to be used to secure the lantern to the bracket.

Thankfully, the next example was in more "original" condition, with a 250 Watt MBF lamp visible within the lantern.

A swarm of dead, and probably, grilled wasps lay in the lowest point of the bowl.

Looking back at some of the installations along the road.

The foreground lantern too had been relamped, though the bowl was cleaner.

Old meets new as the Alpha 3 and the modern equivalent, a Thorn Isaro M LED lantern on Ashby Road East itself, appear together.

Some of the Alpha 3s retain their secondary concertina reflectors, though the reflector on this example has worked loose, blocking out the light from one side of the lantern.

The columns carry Thorn identity plates, and state that they were made to BS 3989:1966, which, unsurprisingly, was the Standard for aluminium lighting columns at the time. This was superseded by BS 5649-1 in 1978.

This Alpha 3 also appears to have worked loose on its bracket.

The dirt in this lantern's bowl reveals how off-centred the lantern had become.

The next lantern along remained at its original angle.

The painted white bowl spot on this lantern's bowl was in remarkably good condition, especially considering that a 400 Watt lamp appears to be fitted here.

A nearby parking area was lit with Atlas / Thorn Gamma 3 / 5 post-top lanterns.

The Gamma 5 was fitted to an Abacus 15 ft (5 m) column.

The column was designed specifically to accommodate a Gamma 5 lantern, with it featuring a flared spigot that matched the contour created by the lantern's bowl.

One of the Gamma 3's canopies was missing, and probably had been for a while.

A very good seal existed between the lantern's bowl, and its lower casting, as evidenced by the murky pool of water that has gathered inside the former!

Thankfully, the remaining three lanterns are fully intact.

How the lantern should look with its canopy in place and bowl dried out!

After a brief hiatus of modern columns and lanterns, another Alpha 3 came into view.

The outreach bracket was noticeably shorter with this example. The burn mark on the bowl suggests that the lampholder may have worked loose at some stage, bringing the lamp into contact with the acrylic, causing the latter to be melted.

The columns are sectional, with the lowest section incorporating the inspection door, which is also aluminium.

The unpainted aluminium finish of the columns and brackets ensures that the installations look far newer than they are in reality.

This lantern's lampholder was loose too, although the bowl hadn't been damaged here.

One parking area was lit with newer Thorn Alpha 3s attached to Stanton 1808 concrete columns; the majority of these being double-armed. In case you were wondering, yes, I love the symmetry of this photograph!

Zooming in created a rather 'arty' image of the various installations.

These lanterns can be distinguished from the earlier Atlas types by their two bowl clips (most of the Atlas versions had four), refractor bowls and factory-fitted NEMA photocell sockets.

The NEMA sockets are unused, owing to the lanterns being group-switched from elsewhere.

The "Alpha Three" identifiers on the castings are also missing from these later examples.

By the time that these lanterns were made, Thorn had released a version of the Alpha 3 with the lamp control gear mounted within the lantern (see here). These examples, as with the Atlas types, have the control gear situated within the column bases.

The lantern's otherwise spotless canopy had been spoiled by a bird making its mark on the front of the lantern.

The opposing lantern's facing bowl clip was detached, although the remaining clip held the bowl securely enough to prevent the build-up of too much dirt within the lantern.

This view demonstrates the different appearance of the later bowl design.

This column was the only one to have had a new lantern fitted.

The replacement lantern appears to be an Indo RDC4 LED lantern.

One of the few single-arm Stanton columns completes the concrete columns on the Business Park.

It is interesting to note that the spigot lengths on all of these columns are slightly too long for the Alpha 3 lanterns - a short section of the internal steel bracket pipe is exposed between the lantern and the start of the concrete.

More Gamma 5s were installed nearby, again on the special Abacus columns.

The close-up reveals that this is the transparent-bowled version of the lantern. A glass refractor ring would have been positioned on the inside of the canopy when new. Sadly, this is long gone from the lantern. What appears to be a length of the sealing gasket has worked loose and become visible within the lantern.

An almost-identical installation existed nearby.

A smaller LED 'Cob' lamp had been substituted for an MBF lamp here.

The roadway was lit with several more installations; two are pictured here, with the left-hand example having a translucent bowl, and the right-hand example having a transparent bowl.

A change made to later versions of the Gamma 5 was the replacement of the bowl toggles (seen on these examples) with slotted bolts fitted to the top of the canopy. The toggle setup was designed in such a way that one could only be loosened and not detached completely, whilst the other could. This allowed the canopy to hinge open and be retained during maintenance.

Going back to the Alpha 3s attached to the aluminium columns, a bowlless example is seen.

The heavy corrosion build-up on the inside of this lantern suggests that the bowl was missing for some time, while the white-painted reflector above the lamp suggests that this could be a Thorn example too - the Atlas examples being unpainted in this area.

Another car park lit with a couple of surviving Gamma 3s was nearby - a third column had had a Vandalite Skye installed in place of its Gamma lantern at some point.

The right-hand Gamma 3 sported bowl damage.

Judging by the hole's shape and position, this damage may have been caused by a loose lampholder too.

The other was undamaged, however.

A mark resembling a crack was present on the bowl; however, this seemed to be a scuff mark.

Back on the main road, the somewhat aptly-named 'Coleman Drive', a few more Alpha 3s were seen.

The tell-tale burn mark on this lantern's bowl revealed that a tubular metal halide lamp was fitted here.

The next lantern was in better condition, however.

The bowl seemed slightly more translucent than the others were, though this may be because it required cleaning.

The penultimate Alpha 3 column came with an optional accessory on its canopy.

The wood pigeon had found a convenient perch in the Alpha 3 - I witnessed one take flight from another example; the lightweight bracket wobbled somewhat for a few seconds afterwards!

The last of this column type was situated opposite the double-arm column seen at the start of this page.

This showed signs of recent bird visits too!

Gamma 5s were to be found in the site's substation compound too, though these were fitted to the base-hinged version of the Abacus column, for ease of maintenance.

These too featured the flared tops to the columns.

The two columns at the far end of the substation compound were wrapped in barbed wire, in order to act as a deterrent to anyone considering using them as a means of gaining access to the compound.

Although these are owned by Western Power Distribution, rather than the Business Park, they are to the same specification as those seen earlier are.

Given that these are only activated on the rare occasions that the substation is occupied at night, unlike the others, these may be fitted with their original lamps.

As I passed the security office, one of the friendly guards asked whether I would picture him too - one picture taken, sir!

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