new
manufacturers
installations
collection
restorations
timeline
identification
publications
glossary
mailing list
site map
links
about
contact

gec z2311 pole bracket

Genre: Wall/Pole bracket

The pole or wall bracket was never well received by the early lighting engineers. They argued, quite rightly, that the installation of such brackets compromised the integrity of the lighting system, as lanterns had to be positioned on specific, pre-existing poles or were limited where they could be mounted on walls. The legal wayleaves presented further hurdles to what was already a less than ideal installation.

Yet the use of a pole or wall bracket reduced both capital and running costs. The price of a column could be offset against the much cheaper bracket; and expensive re-painting schemes could now be limited to just the short length of the bracket itself.

The brackets were available in many different lengths, with additional staybars (if a long bracket was required), and ornamentation to suit. Fuse boxes were usually screwed directly to the bracketís base, but extra unsightly control boxes were required for time switches and/or control gear.

But brackets did have their specific uses. Narrow streets where columns would add clutter and become a nuisance were often lit with bracket mounted lanterns. Rural areas, where the cash-strapped parish councils couldnít afford columns, allowed a limited amount of lighting to be mounted on telegraph poles. And the regularly spaced traction poles of tram and trolleybus routes presented an almost perfect ready-made installation of columns to which brackets and lanterns were often attached.

In the latter case, the brackets were upsloping, adding extra height so the lantern could be positioned about the tram/trolleybus overhead wiring. Such brackets were also used for shorter pre-existing columns and poles, so the lantern could be mounted at optimum height.

The use of pole and wall brackets has declined in recent years, often with brackets being replaced by column-mounted lanterns. Modern brackets, where used, are now much simpler and comprise a single length of tube with a flanged staybar.



Name: GEC Z2311 Pole Bracket
Date: Circa 1920s - 1950s
Dimensions: 18" (length), 5" (height)
Specs: Straight section of ¾" BSP steel tube with "E" Finial, "F" Knurl and alternative fixing for wood pole mounting.
Lantern: GEC Z5565NP




History

Pole brackets from the GEC are well documented thanks to a large number of surviving catalogues. The Z2311 first appeared in the Street Lighting (1937) but featured a different finial design. An ideal match, with the distinctive "E" Finial and angled pole mounting bracket, appeared in Street Lighting Equipment (1948) and Street Lighting Equipment (1951).

It was available in projections of 18", 24", 30" and 36"; with also an option for a clamp for pole mounting and a rectangular fuse box.

Typically the only ornamentation was the finial and the collar. Stay bars, scrollwork and other embellishments were never offered.




Popularity

These types of straight brackets were popular particularly in rural or coastal areas.





the gec z2311 pole bracket in my collection

facing profile

This bracket and lantern were originally installed in someone's front garden. It was mounted on a telegraph pole and illuminated the path by a shed. I was given the bracket and lantern when the shed was demolished for site clearance.

It was probably an old Parish street light. But it was not typical for Cambridgeshire so the provenance of this old bracket and lantern remain uncertain.




front profile

The bracket was made from a single piece of ¾" BSP gas piping. Additions included a curved backplate for bolting to wooden telegraph poles, a single collar for decoration, and a finial.




trailing profile

The bracket matched the GEC Z2311 bracket illustrated in GEC Street Lighting Equipment (1948). At 18" long it was also the shortest of the brackets available from the catalogue. The lantern dates from the early or mid-1950s, therefore dating the bracket to that period. I believe this lantern was the original.




portrait

The GEC 'E' Finial is easily identifiable thanks to the circular blanking plate attached to its front.




portrait

An GEC 'F' Knurl was added to act as a decorative collar, breaking the straight section of piping to provide extra visual interest. Such an addition was slightly antiquated by 1950s standards, as embellishment was being discouraged.




portrait

The curved backplate allowed the bracket to be bolted to a wooden telegraph pole. This was an option, as a clamp was also available if required.




gec z2311 pole bracket: during restoration

A friend was asked to demolish an old shed in neighbouring village Elmdon in preparation for new building work. "I think it had an old street light on a telegraph pole next to it," he said. "Anyway, I wasn't sure, but I saved it anyway and left it by your back door."

I returned home that evening to find a near mint GEC Z5565NP on a rusting GEC Z2311 Pole Bracket.

The lantern was stripped down and cleaned; the bracket had all its paint removed, was rust treated, then primed and painted.




I later explored Elmdon on Google Streetview and found the lantern. The owner of the property collected old Rovers and his shed, which was in the front garden, was plastered with Rover memorabilia and automobilia. The old street light, on its own telegraph pole, was added to create that 1960s/1970s scene.

The front garden has since been developed and a house stands on the site.

My thanks to Stuart for rescuing this lantern for me.