21IC. Bridge Street, Stretton, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire Situated near the former Stretton and Claymills Railway Station (which closed in 1949 to passenger traffic, before the North Staffordshire Railway's Great Northern Railway (GNR) Derbyshire and Staffordshire Extension branch closed completely in 1966) are two Stanton 1805 concrete columns supporting their original 1980s' Philips MI 50 35 Watt SOX lanterns. The 1805 range of columns were the narrowest type produced by Stanton, and remained in production until the late 1980s. Not many years later, structural deficiencies began to be discovered with these columns, owing to the thinness of the concrete around the base, which was observed to crack after moisture seeped into the column's internal steel reinforcement structure when internal bungs protecting against such issues fell out, causing expansion through corrosion. If not discovered in time, this cracking can result in a weakened base supporting the top-heavy weight of the rest of the column, which could fall without any further warning.
This is something of a classic setup in parts of Staffordshire and South Derbyshire, and seems to have been the specification for the Electricity Board (as it was), which had their own Street Lighting division at the time.
Some nearby BT chamber lid covers were dated to 1982, which could be the approximate age of these installations too, although the road is considerably older than this.
The columns are nicknamed "pencils" on account of their narrow, angular profile.
One way of prolonging the lives of columns that are exhibiting signs of cracking at base level (provided that the defect is spotted in time) is to fit a base sleeve, as has happened with the second example.
The column profile at the top is the same as is seen on Stanton's 10 column series, and the brackets are interchangeable between both designs.
The sleeve extends a short distance up the column shaft.
Although the MI 50 does not appear to be fitted with a photocell control, in reality, a Zodion SS55 detector is fitted to the canopy, but cannot be seen from this angle.
The sleeve comprises a front and back piece, which bolt together around the column. The original door is discarded as part of this work, as the sleeve features its own door.
Removing the door reveals the original door aperture and base compartment inside. Although a two-part photocell is employed, the absence of lamp control gear in the column base confirms that this is situated within the lantern for this particular installation.
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