57B. Off Jordangate, Macclesfield, Cheshire Thanks to Dwight for informing me of these Survivors. On a short roadway that passes the Royal Mail Delivery Office, leading to a telephone exchange, are three AEI 'Leader 15ST' / Thorn QC1 'Leader' (depending on their age) 15 ft / 5 m aluminium columns, with each supporting a 'Saxby' / Beta Six lantern via a 'Type 5' curved bracket. A fourth column, a Concrete Utilities 'Broadcrete 500' (also 15 ft in height), supports a Phosware (CU Phosco) P141. All four lanterns are designed for running twin 2 ft (600 mm) 40 Watt fluorescent lamps, and even in 2022, all still do, though they may be abandoned, and not operate at night, particularly as this type of fluorescent lamp had been out of production for around a decade by then.
The first of the Leader columns is seen behind a parked post van.
This Saxby / Beta Six is in excellent condition, without any visible damage to the bowl. The 'Type 5' bracket has a slightly wider section as it enters the lantern.
The column's original inspection door is missing (in fact, all but the door on the last of the four columns are missing too), with the aperture having been wrapped in black and yellow hazard tape as a makeshift plug.
None of the lanterns are drilled for photocell operation, and are probably fed out of the Telephone Exchange or Delivery Office buildings. In the past, both would have fallen under the ownership of the General Post Office, but in 1980, the GPO's Telephone division was re-branded as British Telecom, and became independent a year later.
The inside of the bowl is lined with dirt, although water ingress towards the back has helped to dissipate some of the grime in this area.
The odd one out of the four, the Broadcrete 500 supporting the P141, is next.
The P141, as a design, dates from around 1958, whereas the Broadcrete 500 design dates from earlier in that decade.
Unlike the Saxby / Beta Six, where the lamps are stacked one on top of the other, the lamps in the P141 are arranged two abreast.
These columns came with a 25 year guarantee - given that this one was pictured when it was over 60 years old (and closer to 70), I don't think that any defects that appear now will be covered - not that there are any; save for the missing door, the column is in as good a condition as it was when new!
No signs of spalling are evident on the bracket, or at its joint with the column.
A gull-wing reflector sits between the two lamps, and is visible inside the bowl.
As is typical with Phosware lanterns of this era, the bowl hinges forwards for maintenance, and is secured using an "Oddie" key located at the back of the lantern ordinarily.
The old lantern glinted in the late December sun when viewed from the other direction.
These columns have unusually small base compartments. A canvas bag was placed over the door aperture at some point; much of this has fallen away, allowing the innards to be exposed. The supply cables terminate into a galvanised enclosure, with the lantern cable exiting from the top of this. As the lantern is equipped with the lamp control gear, nothing else is installed in the base.
Beneath the door aperture, "Concrete Utilities Ltd." is visible. Earlier versions of the Broadcrete 500 were made by Tarslag, of Wolverhampton, but by 1953, the manufacturing rights had passed to CU. Tarslag retained the copyright on the design, however.
The next Leader column was positioned on a very narrow footway outside the Delivery Office building.
Here, the top of the Leader column had split apart, leaving the bracket hanging forward quite noticeably.
The lantern was also in poorer condition, with two separate instances of damage having occurred to the bowl.
Despite the damage, both lamps appeared to be intact.
The last column to be fitted with a lantern and bracket was positioned by the gates by the Telephone Exchange. A further Leader column existed within the compound, but its lantern and bracket were missing, and is not pictured here.
The bracket is positioned at a rather odd angle, in relation to the wall, but as the spigot is triangular (to match the profile of the Leader column), this positioning may be intentional.
The reflector in the Saxby / Beta Six is a far more functional affair than the equivalent in the P141 is - it is, simply, a section of sheet steel with the long edges bent downwards. This is because the control gear attaches to the other side of this in the AEI / Thorn lantern, rather than being attached to the inside of the canopy, as with the P141.
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