Thorn Areaflood

Floodlight acquired in July 2008.

This floodlight came from the forecourt of a now-demolished filling station at the junction of Great Northern Road and Uttoxeter New Road in Derby City Centre. It was mounted post-top on a 5 m tubular steel column on the site. I will always have fond memories of this particular filling station as I was once in a car which happened to be using the station's on-site automatic washer in rather cold things turned out, the weather was cold enough to cause the mechanism to freeze up mid-wash; effectively, trapping the car inside! Eventually, an attendant managed to gain access to the device's manual override mechanism and was able to free the marooned vehicle. I quite enjoyed the this floodlight will be a good reminder of that day! I don't think we ever used that particular car wash again after that! The Areaflood can still be found in many filling stations across the country (although, equally, it can be found on many industrial premises too); running mercury, high pressure sodium and metal halide.

The outer casing of the Areaflood is made of GRP, which, after 27 years of outdoor use (a very faint internal test date gives 1981 as the year of manufacture - the year Thorn brought out a SON-T option for the Areaflood), is a 'little' weathered. Visible to the right is one of the fixing bolts for attaching a stirrup bracket - one of the two means of mounting the floodlight.

 This particular unit attached to the column directly, by way of a 76 mm diameter hole in the underside. The hinged front glass panel is secured with two slotted plastic toggles that locate in the aluminium chassis of the floodlight.

The lichen growth on top of the fitting is substantial, and will require cleaning off as part of the restoration process.

Two highly-reflective aluminium panels help to maximise the lamp's output. The upper reflector has a slightly corrugated effect applied and is fixed in place, whilst the lower section hinges forward, allowing access to the internal wiring and lamp control gear.

This close-up of the identification plate makes no mention of SON or MBI lamps being options with alternative control gear installed, despite these options being available when this floodlight was manufactured.

The gear comprises a Thorn G53309.4 ballast and Pye G.C2331/TM 20 F capacitor; the latter dating from week 19 of 1980 (May 5th - 11th). A short length of the old supply cable remains connected - this cable being of the Mineral Insulated Copper Clad (MICC) type, which is an industrial cable typically used in applications where very high temperatures are to be expected, or where the cable would need to keep the electrical load operating in the event of fire - for example, alarm systems.


Restoration on the Areaflood commenced on Sunday, 12th April 2020 (Easter Sunday), with the fitting being deconstructed to its component parts on this date. The white tub serves as the temporary new home for the lamp, as well as all nuts and bolts, and the two hinges from the front panel.

The canopy was cleaned, removing much of the lichen that had grown on it over the years.

Although the inside was not weathered, this was cleaned too.

With the components removed from the chassis, it was treated to several new coats of paint, both inside...

...and out.

The components were given a surface cleaning, and then reinstated into the casting.

Following the painting of the fibreglass parts, the floodlight was reassembled. I wasn't at all keen on the plastic toggle method for securing the glass cover, particularly as both of the toggles on this particular fitting were damaged with age. Instead, two low-profile nuts were attached to a couple of penny washers, and then secured to the casting with epoxy resin.

The nuts are 8 mm in diameter.

Two slotted, dome-headed bolts pass through the two lugs on the cover, and locate into the nuts, making for a much stronger fixing than the toggles offered.

The fully-reassembled floodlight (as seen on the 8th May) bore little resemblance to the grubby, weathered creature that had existed previously.

All that remains is finding somewhere to install it now!

Lanzini Mix 1500 | Thorn 'SONPak 7' OT 70.4 (1990)




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