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Cambridge has mostly escaped any major relighting schemes over the last twenty years. With the exception of the relighting of the ring road, and the removal of the majority of the city's fluorescent stock, the installation has remained largely unchanged for decades.

This is set to change with a PFI on the horizon. So, until that starts to sweep away some lighting history, here's some examples of the lanterns, brackets and columns which can still be found on Cambridge's streets.

REVO Silvergold Aeroscreen
Madingley Road

For a short period, the REVO Silvergold was the council's Group-A low pressure sodium lantern of choice. Its use seemed to coincide with the last of the council's gas column stock (with one lone installation of this combination lighting Rustal Road) before it was used with Stewarts And LLoyds columns and brackets on Barnwell Road, half of Coldham's Lane, Wadloes Road, Perne Road, Mowbray Road and Madlingley Road. After this, the council switched back to AEI Amber Mk IV lanterns.

The Madingley Road installation is of particular interest as the lanterns were aeroscreened due to the proximity of the Royal Observatory.

The years have taken their toll and now only one lantern retains its two aeroscreen louvers. Columns have either been replaced or the louvers have rusted away. (The example pictured shows corrosion to the left hand assembly).

AEI Amber Minor Cut-Off
Ditton Walk

I have often wondered if Ditton Walk was using by Cambridge's lighting engineer for trials. The lighting installed is completely atypical for the city: where the majority of the columns and brackets were metal, Ditton Walk was partly concrete; where the majority of the Group-B lanterns were fluorescent, Ditton Walk was low pressure sodium.

It's the only street in Cambridge where AEI Ambers (the 45 - 60W version) and Amber Minors can be found.

This Amber Minor is of particular interest. It's a first generation model with plastic endpieces over the end of the bowl (now extremely rare) and appears to have the optional cut-off shield fitted (again, extremely rare). Whilst Ditton Walk is near Cambridge Airport, the rest of the lighting in its immediate area is not cut-off, so the modification to its optics are a mystery.

"Fluorescent Wall Lantern"
Botolph Lane

These distinctive wall mounted fluorescent lanterns can be found in several of the city's streets (Botolph Lane, the southern half of Free School Lane and the end of Litte St. Mary's Lane).

As all these streets are extremely narrow, it's assumed the council's Group-B lantern of choice (the REVO Junior Sol-Etern) would've been unsuitable (owing to the lantern extending over the roadway and becoming an obstruction.

In these cases, these wall hugging 2 x 40W MCF lanterns were used instead. They are yet to be identified but appear to be smaller versions of the REVO Haddington lantern.

REVO Horizon Major
Downing Street

For a brief period, probably in the mid 1960s, Cambridge flirted with mercury lanterns. The first fluorescent lanterns to disappear (namely the Richardson Candles around the marketplace and the Sol-Eterns on Regent Street) were replaced by Atlas Alpha 3s.

In other areas, such as Downing Street and King Street, the lanterns of choice were REVO Horizons and Horizon Majors. The lighting of Downing Street was particularly interesting as the gearless Horizons gave way to geared Horizon Majors mid-street along with an increase in mounting height.

Half the Downing Street installation remains with the remaining lanterns gradually being converted to high pressure sodium. The Horizon Majors also have two different types of prismatic glass refractors (one with a "V" shaped prisms, the other with parallel prisms).

REVO Horizon
Downing Street

I believe the gearless REVO Horizon was only installed along Downing Street. Most were replaced when the lighting along the western end of the street was upgraded; only three are now extant.

REVO Richardson Candle: Post Top
Trumpington Street

The whole of the historic city centre was once lit with these bespoke lanterns which were unique to Cambridge. (For more information about them, check out their own page).

The numbers of the column mounted versions have dwindled in recent years and the council is beginning to think about their replacement (a PFI is planned). Until then, Cambridge's city centre remains one of the few locations in the UK still lit by Group-A fluorescent street lighting.

REVO Richardson Candle: Wall Mount
St John's Street

As many of the streets through the city are extremely narrow, some of the Richardson Candles were mounted to the sides of the buildings. This required a custom bracket to mount the lantern on, and a slightly modified end cap with its own mounting bracket.

Unlike the column mounted Candles which took four fluorescent tubes, the wall mounted versions only took three.

REVO Festival: Wall Mount
Trumpington Street

One of the wall mounted lanterns is an imposter. A REVO Festival, the lantern on which the Richardson Candle was based, can be found on Trumpington Street. It isn't as linear as the Candle and has been painted silver instead of bronze.

REVO Richardson Candle: Modified Prototype
Trumpington Street

In 1999, Speirs And Major were contracted to write a document on the relighting of the city centre. They were generally sympathetic to the Candles suggesting their resiting and/or modification rather than their total removal. The council took the punge and D W Winsdor altered a Candle's optics to Speir And Major's specification by replacing the fluorescent lamps with two metal halide bulbs.

Unfortunately the results weren't satisfactory and the idea wasn't pursued.

GEC Z8451
Trumpington Street

When a Richardson Candle was knocked over in the 1970s, the council tried to fill the gap with similar vertical fluorescent lanterns. In this case, what appears to be a GEC Z8451 lantern has been erected in its place. It now burns a single SON bulb.

This is the last lantern of its type in Cambridge. A similar one stood outside the Mitre, but was removed when the lighting in Bridge Street was upgraded.

REVO C13723/S
Madingley Road

Given the small number of REVO Silvergold installations, the city's lighting engineer was remarkably consistent with the casual replacements. When the original lanterns needed replacement, he used the REVO's next sodium lantern, the C13720 range.

A small number of these replacements can be found in the Madingley Road and Brooks Road installations.

Chesterton Road

I suspect the reason behind Cambridge's city lighting engineer purchasing hundreds of gas lighting columns to relight the city's main traffic routes are now lost to time. The battle between gas and electricity was effectively lost in 1953 when gas prices went through the roof and gas street lighting became uneconomic; so why purchase hundreds in 1957 for the electric scheme?

I suspect they were cheap.

This cheap option came at a price: upwardly sloping brackets were now required to position the lantern at the correct eight meter mounting height (supplied by REVO but designed to mount lanterns on trolley bus brackets) and there was no electrical compartment in the column so a large cast-iron gear-box was bolted to the side of the column (also supplied by REVO).

Of course, the city's other lighting supplier had to be considered so AEI provided all the gear to put in REVO's gear-box and also supplied the lanterns: the newly introduced Amber MK IV (which now used two toggle clips on the side of the lantern).

Two styles of gas column were used: those with finials and those without (both are pictured). A gas nipple emerged half way up the column (unused but can be seen in the top picture) and another short extrusion was designed for the gas lantern's bracket - again unused.

About half the original installation still survives, many still with original gear and lanterns. All will be swept away by the forthcoming PFI.

ELECO/Davis GR100
Castle Hill

Cambridge's lighting engineer stuck with Atlas as the Amber MK IV was again redesigned and rebranded as the Alpha Nine. Many can still be found around the city, all casual replacements.

By the mid 1980s, the lighting supplier switched to ELECO and a small stock of the newly styled GR100s were purchased to replace ageing/broken 90W SOX lanterns. However, the lantern was poorly designed, and many are now held together with black insulating tape.

The association with ELECO did not last long and the lighting engineer decided to start using Philips lanterns, which continues to the present day.

REVO Eastbourne
Near Park Parade (next to the Cam)

This lantern appears is amazingly haphazard; it's awkwardly sited next to the Cam, mounted on an amazingly spindley column and has aquired a slight lean over the years.

It's the only one of its type in Cambridge and its survival continues to interest me. The council have not forgotten it though, as it's still fully functional (and burns a SON lamp).

It appears to be a REVO Eastbourne (although a fully positive identification will have to wait until I've done more research - many manufacturers made this style of lantern).

Perhaps the council were interested in lighting the path next to the Cam by more traditional looking lantern, and this one Eastbourne was put in as a trial? But I suspect the facts behind this lantern will never be known.

GEC Z8260
Thompsons Lane

The area around Thompsons Lane and Park Parade was one of the last area of Cambridge's street lighting to be converted from fluorescent to low pressure sodium. In fact, the replacement took so long, that many lanterns were replaced by high pressure sodium. But it's almost as if the council ran out of steam, as several fluorescents still remain, seemingly forgotten by the conversion.

This GEC Z8260 is one of them.

The Z8260 became the city's Group-B fluorescent lantern of choice after they stopped using REVO Junior Sol-eterns (although I suspect REVO - or Relite - had stopped making them at that point). Therefore the Z8260 was used for casual replacements and any new road lighting schemes in the 1970s.

"The Park Street area, as it is known locally, was included in the city centre "white light" area when the rest of the city was converted to low pressure sodium lighting in the 1980s. A few SOX lights have crept into the area by mistake, usually after replacements. Where I have spotted them I have got them replaced, usually, as you observed, by SON lamps though I think there is at least one metal halide light. I recently became aware of a couple of cases I had missed but the PFI should sort them out shortly." - Colin Rosenstiel

REVO Junior Sol-etern
Thompsons Lane

The REVO Junior Sol-etern was the lantern of choice for all Cambridge's side streets, mounted on AEI Leader columns. Hundreds, if not, thousands were installed throughout the city.

During the mounting fuel crisis of the 1970s, they were considered inefficient, and their wholesale replacement by GEC Z9538 low pressure sodium lanterns began in the 1980s.

Only an handful of Junior Sol-eterns now remain. Interestingly all the reminants are wall mounted examples; suggesting a possible problem with wayleaves over their replacement?

These final survivors will probably be swept away by the forthcoming PFI.

BTH Urban Enclosed
Portugal Place

These two lanterns along the eastern end of Portugal Place are survivors from the conversion of the city's street lighting from gas to electricity.

Mounted on an existing gas column is this old BTH swan neck with BTH Urban Enclosed lantern. Most of Cambridge's gas lanterns were converted this way; and the tungsten Urban Encloseds were changed for GEC Z9533 lanterns when the city was converted to low pressure sodium.

The Portugal Place relics are the last surviving examples; two other Urban Encloseds hang on in other parts of the city, but Portugal Place is the only street to still be lit by them.

Simplex Jupiter
Manor Street

The only Simplex Jupiters in Cambridge can be found on Manor Street where three were installed on the western side of the road. Like the neighbouring King Street (see below) this appears to have been a council experiment, comparing Simplex's lantern with ELECO's.

I suspect these columns and lanterns were installed in the 1970s. They have since been converted to SON.

"The reason why Manor Street's lights are unique is because the street was newly constructed in the mid-1970s so its lights date from then and not later replacement programs in King Street" - Colin Rosenstiel

Philips MA 3
King Street

Another lone 1970s scheme appears along King Street. These lanterns are Philips MA 3s; the design was based on a popular ELECO lantern.

These lanterns would've originally been fitted with mercury lamps but have since been converted to SON.

The lantern at the north eastern end of the road has been replaced by an equally rare (for Cambridge) Thorn Alpha Three.

AEI Amberline / Thorn Alpha Five
Newmarket Road

Cambridge had few dual-carriageway streets, but in the 1960s, Newmarket Road was upgraded and widened (probably to act as an arterial route to the newly constructed Elizabeth Road bridge).

All the existing lighting stock was removed (the ever faithful 90W AEI Ambers on gas lamp columns) and replaced with higher powered 135W lanterns.

The western end of the newly upgraded Newmarket Road was lit by a handful of AEI Amberline / Thorn Alpha 5 lanterns. It isn't known if the lanterns were fitted with SLI/H or SOX tubes originally.

They're now burning SOX and only about four remain. They were not Cambridge's original choice for 135W SOX lanterns - that was the modified REVO Hyperion.

"The dualling of Newmarket Road took place in the mid-1970s, after Elizabeth Way opened in 1971. The partial dualling of East Road mostly took place in the 1960s, however." - Colin Rosenstiel

Modified REVO Hyperion
Newmarket Road

Cambridge's 135W SOX lantern of choice was the modified REVO Hyperion and a short strech of the western end of Newmarket Road is still lit by this lantern.

The original REVO Hyperion (designed for the new SLI/H sodium lamp) had a flat based bowl. After the Code Of Practice for street lighting was updated in the mid 1960s, it was discovered the lantern emitted too much light directly beneath it. Therefore the bowl was modified with a 'V' shaped base - thus casting more light either side.

The lanterns fitted in Cambridge have these modified bowls.

Relite Hyperion 135
Newmarket Road

The Hyperion was redesigned again in the early 1970s after the lighting division of REVO was sold and rebranded as Relite.

A very rare lantern in Cambridge, this short stretch of Hyperions lights the short segment of Newmarket Road by the football ground.

AEI Amberline / Thorn Alpha Five
Newmarket Road

The western end of Newmarket Road is also lit by Thorn Alpha 5s. These models have deeper bowls than the earlier slimmer Amberline versions as they were designed for SOX lamps.

Never popular in Cambridge, these lanterns were only installed on dual carriageways of Newmarket Road.

GEC Z9464C
Newmarket Road

As Newmarket Road continues past Cambridge Airport the street lighting switches from lanterns with a semi-cut-off distribution to cut-off distribution (as stipulated in various lighting specifications and aviation rulings).

The lamp sizes also decrease from the 135W LPS lamps used by the Thorn Alpha 5s down to 90W lamps used in these GEC Z9464C lanterns. The lantern has opaque side panels (unlike the more popular Z9464). This feature, along with internal reflectors, gives the desired cut-off distribution.

This type of lantern was only ever installed on this stretch of road. A later casual replacement of a Thorn Alpha 9 required masking tape to be stuck inside the lantern’s bowl to modify the optics to conform to airport regulations. (A similar ad-hoc modification was also made to a Thorn Alpha 9 over the railway bridge on Long Road – this lantern has since been replaced and is now in the collection).

Relite Lucidor A
Coldhams Common

Most of the traffic routes in Cambridge were lit with BTH/AEI Amber lanterns. However, it appears a few routes were either upgraded or lit after the main work was done, and in this small number of cases, the lighting engineer used 90W LPS lanterns from REVO/Relite instead.

REVO Lucidor As (with side-entry shoes) were used to light the footpath winding over Coldhams Common. A similar model (this time the top-entry) was used for Bateman Street. The smaller model was never used to light any Group 'B' roads (as Cambridge used fluorescent) but a small number of the gear-in-head Lucidor B were used for the roads of Addenbrookes Hospital.