4r. Off Babington Lane, Derby City Centre. Situated within a car park (and formerly, a petrol station and car hire company) on this City Centre street are four Abacus 25 ft (8 m) base-hinged columns, each of which supports an Atlas Alpha 3 lantern. The lanterns continue to run mercury vapour lamps, as of 2019; thus, the installations are (at least) 45 years old. The wattage of the lanterns is likely to be 250 Watt each. From the ground, the condition of the lanterns seems immaculate, with all four retaining the white diffuser spots that are painted onto the bowls, just below the lamps.
The archival photographs seen on this page are taken from three editions of 'Derby - Old and New' by Frank Rodgers.
The four columns are seen from the top of Babington Lane, with Derby's Intu shopping centre dominating the background.
This 1974 view, taken from approximately the same angle, reveals the two outermost columns looking no different to how they did in 2019. The street lighting at this time comprised GEC Z8526 lanterns.
By 1984, the Z8526s had been changed to Z9554M 135 Watt SOX lanterns, in an energy-saving measure, but the view is little changed otherwise. Notice that the Alpha 3 column to the left of the Texaco sign has developed a slight bend since the previous picture was taken.
This 1996 view includes an even older shovel-type floodlight to the right of the picture. This was still extant in 2008, but had gone by 2012.
Back in 2019, we take a closer look at the column situated the furthest down Babington Lane. The bend in the column that appeared in the 1984 view remains to this day.
This close-up reveals the 'atlas' logo on the casting, along with 'ALPHA THREE' below it.
The base of the Abacus column shows some corrosion, which is to be expected, considering the age of the installation.
The vintage appearance of the private installation contrasts sharply with the modern 10 m column and Philips Iridium lantern on Babington Lane itself; the columns supporting Z9554s being replaced in 2011 as part of Derby's Street Lighting PFI. The lamp fitted within the Alpha 3 these days appears to be an OSRAM. Notice that these lanterns feature corrugated aluminium reflectors; later versions of the Alpha 3 saw these removed, with the inside of the lantern canopy itself providing a means of reflection. The reflector spot is the faintest on this example.
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