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BLEECO 695 Enclosed Sunstar

For over fifty years, this catenary mounted lantern lit St. John's Road, a small mews development to the north of First Avenue, Hove. Burning a tungsten bulb, and made by BLEECO, it was probably the first street light installed here.

In 2000, local resident Kate reported that the bulb was defective and asked the council to replace it. She wasn't pleased when a lighting engineer turned up, and promptly removed the entire lantern.

She went outside to remonstrate with the engineer, arguing that the mews was a conservation area and nothing could be changed without permission. The engineer retorted that this BLEECO Enclosed Sunstar was now considered dangerous, and he wouldn't put it back up.

The argument became so heated that Kate's husband secretly videoed the exchange, needing evidence if it became violent.

In the end the engineer stormed off, leaving the lantern with Kate. Enquires with the council and conservation officer revealed that street lights were not listed, and if the mew's residents wanted the Sunstar reinstated, they'd have to adopt and maintain it themselves.

No progress was made, and after months of darkness, the residents decided they didn't want to lose their council maintained street lighting, and at a nod to the nature of the mews, the council installed a traditional style wall bracket with an Urbis Sussex lantern. The Sunstar remained in Kate's garage whilst she pondered what to do with it.

It's now in my collection, and it's an absolutely beautiful lantern, a mint example of a BLEECO Enclosed Sunstar. It will be fully restored and mounted again as a catenary lantern.

Interestingly, it's the first BLEECO lantern with a catalogue number on the canopy (862). This doesn't correspond to anything in the (small amount) of literature we've got, but the lantern is definintely a BLEECO Enclosed Sunstar.

This show shows the Holophane 2-4438 refractor bowl disassembled. It comprises a 4438 Inner symmetrical refractor and an outer 2-4438 asymmetrical refractor which produces the main beams.

Inner wording: 4438 Inner Holophane Made In England
Outer wording: 2-4438 Holophane Made In England Patd No 217539