2. Church Street, Boston, Lincolnshire. Attached to the front of the town's Assembly Rooms is a wall bracket supporting a Philips SGS 203 lantern. Before I continue, don't worry; I am not trying to pass off this combination as being in any way 'historically interesting' (although, with the rise of LED lighting, it is becoming something of a rarity in its own right)! What is of significance are the two vintage accompanying boxes that are attached to the wall at a lower level - the more notable of the two being a GEC Z1911 cast iron box dating from the 1930s. As well as the GEC logo, reference is also made on the box cover to "OSIRA" lamps; the brand name for OSRAM's (GEC's lamp company) MA/V mercury lamps in the early days of discharge lighting. Originally, the box would have housed the control gear for such a lamp, but now may contain little more than the Electricity Company's cut-out, as the modern lantern is likely to contain its own lamp control gear. The other enclosure would have housed the solar-tracking Venner mechanical time switch; a necessity for automatic switching of the lamp before the days that photo-electric cells were incorporated into street lighting applications. Again, as the SGS 203 is fitted with its own photocell control, this box may also no longer contain any equipment.

A length of (relatively modern) 20 mm diameter conduit links the boxes to the bracket; clearly, the installation has undergone a spot of rewiring in its time. Archival material suggests that an Atlas/Thorn Alpha 3 existed here prior to the SGS 203's installation; if the Alpha 3 had its control gear mounted remotely, the GEC box may have been re-used to house this...or perhaps the original gear was retained whenever the original 1930s' lantern was replaced with the Alpha 3 in the 1960s/70s. Notice the optional cable entry point on the top of the GEC box - a rainproof cover is provided. The square-based signpost supporting the 'One Way' sign immediately to the right of the boxes is also rare these days. Given that the circular plate will be 600 mm in diameter, the sizes of the boxes can be appreciated.

Notice the very 1930s' design of the GEC box; the two curved decorations at either end and quotation marks around the product name (in this case, 'OSIRA') are traits of the period.


This final picture was taken from the convenient vantage point of the nearby St Botolph's Church tower - 'The Stump', as the landmark is known as locally.


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