96b. The Clusters, Belper. Installed on the adjacent streets that make up this area of the town are a number of cast iron columns; all of assorted designs and ages. The streets form part of a Conservation Area, and so over the years, as and when columns have required replacement, where possible, another column of a similar design would be installed. By the early 2010s, the columns were looking somewhat neglected, and so funding was obtained in order for them to undergo off-site refurbishment, and upon their return, would be treated to a new heritage-style lantern, as well as a coat of paint. Typically, a couple of columns are removed for refurbishment every so often, and a couple of modern tubular steel columns installed in their place until they could be reinstated. The presence of walls constructed in close proximity to the columns, along with some of the columns being found to have base plates (that themselves passed beneath walls) proved problematic for the crews involved in their removal - these columns are likely to be left until last on the refurbishment programme, and will probably have to be cleaned up as best as possible on site, without being removed.
This un-refurbished fluted example currently (as of July 2015) supports a most attractive Thorn Riga 50 W SON-T lantern.
The short stature of the column is fairly obvious - even with it being partially obscured by overhanging foliage.
Nearby stands one of the refurbished installations - the column spigot, control box, swan neck bracket, and of course, the lantern itself, are all new.
The lanterns are from Metcraft's 'Newton' range. The first few refurbishments saw black-painted lanterns being specified, as an alternative colour was yet to be determined. Eventually, the BS 4800 colour 14 C 39 ("Holly Green") was selected, and all further batches of these lanterns were ordered in this colour; those that had already been installed were repainted at the same time as their columns and brackets were given a top coat; they were installed in the undercoat primer finish that had been applied during the refurbishment process. By coincidence, this colour is virtually identical to the dark green paint finish applied to street lighting columns within the boundary of the City of Nottingham. Another change that was made during the early days of the refurbishment process was the switch from part-night to all-night photocell control - the part-night photocells were specified owing to the roads not being adopted by the County Council, and so strictly speaking, the lighting should not have been maintained by them either, but as this was an 'historical' installation (i.e. dating from before road adoption by a local authority existed in any sort of official form), it continued to be repaired, as necessary - the part-night photocells being seen as a way of reducing the energy consumption of these lights. The change to all-night photocells came as a result of another factor in the roads not being adopted - the road surfaces are in extremely hazardous condition (they are over one hundred years old and existed before motor cars and pneumatic rubber tyres did - they were designed with horses and carts in mind!), and the columns are so sporadically placed that light levels when trying to navigate the many ruts and potholes are already limited, without adding the factor of lights extinguishing after midnight into the mix. Yes, vehicles have headlights and people can carry torches, but believe me; any additional lighting on these roads after nightfall is definitely welcome!
Archival photographs of the area in the past were thin on the ground; however, one picture taken on Long Row showed that it was once lit with traditional square-based lanterns. Thus, the three columns along this road were fitted with Metcraft 'Victoria' post-top lanterns, in order to mimic these original installations.
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