BLEECO Worthing 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originally made in various heights, swan neck brackets were also made in different sizes so the lantern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 Worthing Swan Neck Bracket
Date: Circa 1920s - 1950s
Dimensions: 68" (height), 21" (width)
Specs: BLEECO pointed finial, clamped scrollwork with collar, large anti-corrosion collar at base of shaft and BLEECO RB952 Time Switch case with spigot
Lantern: BLEECO Hove Lantern (100W) / BLEECO Sunstar Lantern 686
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 And Hove Bracket appeared in a BLEECO catalogue from 1934.
The catalogue shows a smaller version of this bracket (fitted with extra collar, tulip joint and spigot). So this
bracket of larger proportions could cater the larger sized lanterns in BLEECO's range. As it was quite
tall, it was probably also designed
for shorter columns, where the extra height provided by a swan neck bracket was required.
These large brackets were used extensively throughout Sussex, but appeared rare in other parts of the country.
The BLEECO Worthing Bracket In My Collection
I can't recall where this bracket came from. I found the
lantern in a skip in Brighton, so I brought the
two together to create a classic BLEECO street light.
The bracket is a large swan-neck and easily accomodates the large lantern.
The bracket was a large version of the firm's classic Worthing bracket. The
smaller version appeared in this catalogue from 1934.
This larger version would've been used for smaller cast iron columns so the lantern could be
positioned at the correct 15' mounting height.
The finial is classic BLEECO and can be found on many of their brackets.
The bracket also has the standard BLEECO spigot decoration. This double scroll was
welded to the bracket at the top, and fixed using a large decorative clamp at its base.
The area where the base of the bracket screws into the top of the time switch case was always a problem. Water would pool on
flat top of the time switch and corrode the bracket tube. Early decorations, such as tulip joints and leaf husks made the
problem worse, as they collected more pools of water.
In this case, BLEECO fitted a brute-force anti-corrosion guard. This tapered casting would direct water away from
the bracket tube but would also protect by its sheer bulk. There was now a lot of metal to rust through.
time switch case
BLEECO RB952 Time Switch case was probably the most popular option used
by authorities. Fitted with a spigot, it could bolt onto the majority of cast iron columns. It could accommodate
a time switch and two fuses, both accessed by a single door, which faced out onto the pavement.
First designed in the 1920s/1930s, the unit also featured art deco patterning on the pavement and
street side faces; along with raised letter work giving the firm's name and location.