6. GEC Z9538

Spotted on the 5th January 2005 on Hedingham Way, Mickleover. I was walking along the road, as you do, when I noticed that one bracket was missing its lantern. I then noticed that part of the canopy was still attached, but the rest of the lantern had fallen into the grass behind the column. One quick call to the Council, and a few minutes later, a bucket van turned up - manned by Amrik, one of the electricians. I introduced myself, and then helped him to pick up the remains of the smashed lantern. He then isolated the column, and went up to fit a replacement lantern - a Thorn Beta 2. The Monostar 1000 photocell from the Z9538 was undamaged, and so it was re-used in the Beta 2.

What I think happened: The lantern perhaps had a run-in with a high-sided vehicle, or perhaps the fibreglass of the canopy became too weak to support the lantern - the majority of the Z9538s in the area were installed in the early 1980s, and so now (2005), they are approaching their 25th birthday, so they're getting on in years. I very much doubt, therefore, that the lantern was vandalised.


The rather bare-looking bracket that had held the Z9536.

I took a picture of the number, purely so I could remember it for future reference. Notice the remains of the lantern in the background.

A close-up of the bracket, showing the exposed wires. The bowl clip is still attached.

The remains of the lantern after falling  - I considered trying to save the gear, hoping that it would have an original GEC Z1616 ballast, but I then peered into the gear tray, and noticed that it was a modern replacement ballast, so didn't bother. The porcelain lampholder had been obliterated by the fall - only the two springy electrodes that the lamp contacts push against were still there.

The bowl itself wasn't too badly damaged - just a small section at the end, where the clip had been was damaged. Polycarbonate really is a tough plastic - just a shame that it goes yellow!

Amrik positioned the van in order that the bucket was just in front of the column. I'm pleased to see that the transfers that I saw being applied during my Work Experience in 2003 are still in good condition!

He then went up to remove the remains of the canopy from the bracket.

The allen screws had rusted solid, meaning that the fibreglass stump had to be hammered off.

The cables could be re-used, but they were trimmed down in size as the terminal block in a Beta 2 is nearer to the spigot entry than it is in a Z9536.

Once the lantern was wired up, the gear tray was fastened in place.

The lamp, photocell and bowl were then fitted, and the fuse was put back into the cutout. The cell set as normal, and after a quick check to make sure that it came back on, Amrik lowered the bucket down.

The lantern after having the bowl secured.

Work completed, Amrik filled in the job sheet, and headed off down the road.

I checked that the Beta 2 was working that evening and it certainly was!

The column was removed on Saturday, 2nd October 2010, following a relighting of Hedingham Way as part of the Derby Street Lighting PFI. The Beta 2 was therefore installed for 299 weeks, three days; 2096 days or 50,304 hours (and I counted every single one of them).

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