Sidmouth Seafront Lantern

Lantern acquired in July 2007.

Thanks to Steve Rowe for this ornate lantern. As the name suggests, the lantern was one of a number used on Sidmouth's seafront (pictures can be seen here) until the whole lot were replaced due to some of the wooden columns being in poor condition. Whilst the lanterns look old and traditional, they are actually quite modern - the entire bowl is sealed and the lamp is positioned vertically, with an optical reflector positioned above. Two of the lanterns ended up in a reclaims yard in Exeter and were spotted by Davy. This lantern had been mounted upside-down on a column, causing the gear and cell to be submerged in water - not that this matters too much as I am planning to convert the lantern to run 70 W SON-T instead - believed to be the wattage that these lanterns ran at before the 70 W CDM lamps were fitted. Steve managed to save the other one (which had thankfully been stored the correct way up!) - so at least two of these unusual top-entry fittings will hopefully still be around in years to come. The nearest equivalent lanterns to these in Derby are the old fittings on Exeter Bridge (see here for pictures)...the closest we can get to a seafront!

Whilst the lantern looks quite old, it is actually not  - the bodywork is of an aluminium construction (painted gold) and the 'panels' which make up the bowl are actually one unit - the optical part of the lantern is completely sealed - this was probably a requirement in the specification as the previous lanterns (running 125 W mercury lamps) suffered in stormy weather and sometimes panels would blow out of the frame, causing the lamp to prematurely fail from being subjected to the bad weather.

Whereas the bottom piece of these lanterns is solid, the Urbis Victory-based lanterns which replaced them have a clear panel.

A 1 Inch BSP thread is tapped into the top of the lantern - quite how this fitted to a column spigot is unknown!

The lantern would be secured to the bracket by a bolt located on the length of thread inside. Although the lanterns were fitted with SELC 849 minicells, they were actually group-switched from a single location - notice how the 'live in' wire has been cut in order to prevent the cell accidentally energising.

The wiring and components will all require replacing - they didn't take too well to being submerged under water!

Remarkably, the lamp looked relatively clean despite its ordeal - the sealed optic has kept the worst of the dirt away from it.

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