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BLEECO Brighton Bracket

Genre: Swan neck bracket

The "swan neck" bracket probably gained prominence as the electric arc lamp became popular in the late 19th century. The arc lamp required suspending above the roadway by its canopy, so a sweeping, curved bracket was utilised to position the lantern relative to the column. With the advent of the inverted mantle, gas manufacturers followed suit; suspending lanterns by their canopies prevented shadows and the dark spaces associated with the early post-top Windsor style frame lanterns. Finally, the first lanterns for tungsten filament bulbs followed the trend and were also top-entry.

The swan neck was easy to manufacture from a iron or steel rolled tube. They were either fully formed to support the lantern directly, or finished on the horizontal so a decorative finial was required. Other decorations included the purely aesthetic scrollwork and collars, whilst tulip and leaf husks not only beautified the spigot cap, but also provided additional protection from rust at the joint between the bracket and spigot.

The swan neck was a popular choice for a "gas conversion" in the 1940s and 1950s where the original gas post-top lantern was removed and replaced with a swan neck and high level termination. As columns were originally made in various heights, swan neck brackets were also made in different sizes so the lantern height above the road could be standardised.

By the 1950s, the swan neck bracket was still extremely popular, as manufacturers were still producing large numbers of top-entry lanterns. However, the lines became simpler, and the decoration was eventually scaled down and finally removed entirely. It was a practical move: scrollwork and spigot joints formed dirt and moisture traps where corrosion could set in.

As side entry lanterns became popular, the swan neck declined in numbers. Brackets evolved into simple bracket arms, or became part of the column (as with the popular "hockey stick" column). However, the swan neck does live on, albeit in smaller numbers, and is still available as a "traditional" option for decorative and/or heritage style street lighting.

Name: BLEECO Brighton Bracket
Date: Circa 1920s - 1950s
Dimensions: 30" (height), 11" (width)
Specs: Small pointed BLEECO finial, BLEECO collar, BLEECO leaf husk
Lantern: BLEECO Worthing (100W) / BLEECO Open Type Conical Lantern 677


The history of BLEECO columns and brackets isn't well documented although examples of their range appear in various booklets and leaflets.

The only known appearance of the Brighton Bracket appeared in a BLEECO catalogue from 1934. Fitted with a previously undocumented directional style lantern, the Brighton Bracket appeared to be typified by a small swan neck, finial and large leaf husk.

The bracket was too small for larger wattage lanterns, and appeared to be designed solely for smaller wattage lanterns. As it had little height, it was probably also designed for taller columns, where the extra height provided by a swan neck bracket wasn't required.


The Brighton bracket appeared to be the least popular of the BLEECO range, probably due to its inability to be used for larger wattage lanterns. It doesn't appear in period photographs and I don't know of any surviving examples; the much larger Worthing and Brighton And Hove brackets are much more common.

The BLEECO Brighton Bracket In My Collection

facing profile

This bracket was the result of a tip-off, a two-hour drive, and a visit to a reclaim yard near Cheadle. This bracket was stood on a concrete plinth, the over reflector hanging down, the paint cracking and peeling.

front profile

I purchased the bracket as it was a perfect example of a BLEECO Brighton bracket (the other example in my collection being snapped off below the leaf husk). The original lantern was also very interesting, being an early version of a BLEECO Worthing (100W) / BLEECO Open Type Conical Lantern 677. However this lantern was too fragile to be installed outside so I swapped it for this more robust example.

trailing profile

I stripped off the peeling and cracked paint and repainted the bracket in green: the original colour used by Brighton Council. I don't know if the lantern ever came from that area, but it's the default colour I use for my brackets.


The finial is not the standard BLEECO finial. The other BLEECO Brighton bracket in my collection has the same finial so I wonder if this type was used for smaller brackets and lanterns.


The collar is a simple casting of three rings pushed onto the swan neck and held in place with a simple locknut.

leaf husk

This is classic BLEECO. The leaf joint is actually an embelishment kit, fitted onto the tube of the bracket; it's the bracket that screws into the control box, and the leaf joint is just decoration.

However, the leaf joint has holes either side which lets in moisture. It seems common for these brackets to rust in these areas, and for the swan neck to eventually snap off (see my broken Brighton bracket as an example).

fulham type switch box #1

This is classic BLEECO as well: the Fulham switch box along with art-deco ribbed styling.

fulham type switch box #2

And I was lucky when I bought this bracket. The Venner MSSP time switch, a time switch case and fuse were all still inside. One of the fuses had been lost over the years (and I've put the modern terminal strip in there) but this is how it was probably originally installed.