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eslas in cheam

This was one of the first installations I documented, using with my rather rubbish original digital camera. These pictures appeared on my first website along with the comments. However, I was surprised to discover some unpublished photos which I've added here for the first time.

The majority of my ESLAs and Lucy brackets came from this installation, collected in the mid 1990s. My thanks to Sutton Council for the opportunity to rescue some.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #1

A complete example of the original installation: ESLA Bi-Multi lantern, large swan neck with flower finial and scroll, Lucy control box and circular cast-iron fluted column.

As London expanded in the 1920s and 1930s, and new homes were built to the south of the city, the huge new borough of Kingston decided on incandescent lighting for its side streets and throughfares. The mirrored directional lanterns of ESLA were cheap and effective for such a huge new development, and were chosen to light the roads of Kingston, Cheam and Sutton.

As the roads were laid and the new homes built, ESLA lanterns were installed on huge swan-necks, with Lucy control gear (for fuses and timeswitches), all mounted on cast iron columns.

In the early 1970s, work started to replace this massive installation of lanterns with Phosco low-presure sodium lanterns on Concrete Utilities columns. Throughout this decade, and into the 1980s, thousands of ESLA lanterns were gradually replaced.

By the early 1990s, the only installation remained in Cheam Village. Some of the lanterns, swan necks and columns have already been saved into my collection. And by 2000, a handful of streets still remain lit by these street lights which are over 50 years old.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #2

Further down the road, an octagonal column has been used to mount this swan neck bracket. Octagonal columns are very rare in this installation: there are only two. The other is being used for the 3-way ESLA.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #3: new picture

This better shot shows the configuration of the lantern.

esla bi-multi group 'al' three-way #1

Side view of a rare, wide 3-way ESLA. This lantern was used as the column was mounted at a T-junction, so the light distribution is split three ways. It's also an early casual replacement. The lantern is mounted on a BLEECO swan neck (notice the pointed finial and lack of iron scrollwork) and is equiped with a BLEECO control box.

The top of the octagonal column can just been seen.

esla bi-multi group 'al' three-way #2

A rather dark view of the mirror pattern within the lantern. The three arches within this ESLA each have three rows of glass. Another row of larger glass pieces is used for the center.

esla bi-multi group 'al' three-way #3: new picture

This was a better view of the side of the lantern.

esla bi-multi group 'al' three-way #4: new picture

And another pathetically dark shot. But the shape of the 3-way configuration can be made out here.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #4

Near the end of the road, where the trees are much larger, the last ESLA stands shrouded in the leaves. At first glance, it looks different. Is it a standard Bi-Multi which has shattered? Some ESLAs appear to have broken over the years; faults in the original casting being weakened by rust?

This last lamp post is going to be a surprise.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #5

This shot from the front gives the game away. It's an ultra rare triangular ESLA. The two arches at the sides bend to form a hook. Light is cast to the sides, and to the center of the road.

I suspect this ESLA is used to throw light onto the road surface, rather than to the sides, because of the large trees to either side.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #6

A final picture from across the road.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #7: new picture

This previously unpublished snap shows the clear triangular nature of the ESLA. I suspect this was a standard 2-way but of a 40o configuration or something equally acute.

esla bi-multi group 'al' two-way #8

Another example of the original installation now showing signs of stress after 50 years of service. A groove in the top of the cast iron column is currently preventing the swan neck from toppling over completely. But, how long it will last before that gives out, and the bracket swings over and smashes is anyone's guess.

I suspect that all these lanterns will be relaced soon. Hopefully, the 3-way and triangular ESLAs will find their ways into my collection

Unfortunately, despite leaving my name and phone number with the street lighting department, they never called me back when the lanterns pictured were replaced in 2002. These brackets and lanterns probably ended up in a skip. *Sigh*