4D. Off Kedleston Rd, Derby City Centre. By the side of the medical centre is a disused footpath with a single surviving Bleeco cast iron column, complete with Thorn Beta 4 lantern. The footpath has not been used for many years, and only a short stretch can still be walked upon as the rest of it is fenced off, and even that is heavily overgrown. The Beta 4 may have run a mercury vapour lamp when in operation, as a backboard taken from another column on the footpath (now removed) has 125 Watt mercury gear - this column having been the main control point for the section, as there is a metal plate with column numbers this point controlled below the capacitor; as mentioned here. It may have run a tungsten filament or self-ballasting mercury lamp as an alternative, however.
The rather forlorn-looking installation, as it appeared on the 25th December 2003...yes, even on Christmas Day, Survivors are pictured!
The bracket is a newer addition; however, by the time that these pictures were taken, it had become very rusty.
A silhouette of the lantern and bracket.
The lantern's polycarbonate refractor bowl (surprisingly) shows very little discolouration - this hints that it may not have run any sort of mercury lamp after all.
The column's inspection door wasn't locked, and so, I peered into the base compartment. The backboard had rotted away completely, leaving a domestic switch fused spur hanging by its own cables.
Whilst looking for the allotments from where my Z9481 was removed, I came across the other end of the footpath, and this side is much more accessible. The next few pictures show the remains of the lighting as it looked on the 6th March 2005.
The first two columns that can be seen both have mercury post top lanterns (Phosco P178s) fitted; both are heavily vandalised, however. I had a quick look in the column bases to check for anything of interest, but all that greeted me were isolator switches (and years of cobwebs!), as the lanterns are gear-in-head.
The site of the school is now a patch of wasteland. This is what can be seen in the background of the left hand photograph.
The columns remained extant in November 2020; however, a new perimeter fence had been erected in the intervening years, with the land now being owned by the University of Derby. The closer of the two columns is accessible, however, thanks to a narrow unmade footpath being retained alongside the fence.
The inner threaded section of the Edison Screw lampholder hung forlornly out of of the lantern.
The second of the two P178s was little changed from how it appeared fifteen years earlier.
More of the bowl looked to have been broken away, although this example's lampholder remained intact.
The lamp control gear was in very poor condition, though as the school is believed to have closed in 1975, this is understandable.
Back in 2005, I spotted some of the old cable along the bridge across the stream...
The cable is quite difficult to spot here, so I've added arrows, in an attempt to highlight it. It breaks off in the water, so is obviously (hopefully!) no longer live.
At what is now the end of the footpath is this cast iron stump - this would have been a column at one time! I found a piece of the column in the soil nearby, but I left it there as it wasn't really recognisable as any particular part. In the past, cast iron columns were just smashed up when they were no longer needed - usually, this was done in-situ; this is probably what happened here. Notice the hefty lead service cable within the base of this column stump.
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