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Over the next few months, I'll be posting examples of dreadful streetlights to the mailing list for discussion (and, perhaps, a good laugh).

Open Reflector Lantern on Swan Neck Bracket

Apart from the swan neck being almost the same size as the column, the scrollwork being small and insignificant, and the fuses and timeswitch being housed in an ugly box strapped to the column, there's not much wrong with this street light...

Apart from the connection between the column and the swan neck. Or should I say, lack of it? Despite being ugly, this street light also looks utterly dangerous.

And to add insult to injury, the column itself is nicely positioned as part of the wall. There was probably a nice looking gas lantern here at one time.

"That old lamp post - the bracket looks like it will fall off any minute." - Wayne

"All I can say at the moment is I wouldn't like to be standing under that!" - Adam

"You haven't told us where the pictures were taken. From the road sign the first one is presumably in the Cross Roads area of Haworth, West Yorks" - Peter

"Madam, there really is no need for any concern, the lamppost is due for replacement under the 2005 PFI scheme!" - Claire

Gas Windsor Lantern on Angled Bracket

This bizarre angled bracket was probably designed to move the lantern away from the power lines above it, but it appears an inelegent and cumbersome solution.

"I wonder if the heavy duty column for the gas lamp was originally intended for a symmetrical pair of lanterns of some kind, with a more sophisticated bracket. [As for the location] I would guess though that it's in the north of England or possibly Scotland as gas lanterns with that kind of chimney weren't often found in the south." - Peter

"Iím from the TV show 'Rogue Traders'; Iíd like to talk to you about this lamppost conversion youíve undertaken for the Parish Council!Ē - Claire

"That is what I call extreme offset! - Tom

Brighton Seafront Streetlight

The frankly bizarre cones added to the column were duly noted, ruining the Victorian lines of this seafront street light. The lantern is still there today, whilst the cones are not.

"Very futuristic George, but thatís not quite what I had in mind when we spoke about a streetlighting modernisation scheme!" - Claire

"Observe that the awful growth was not yet manifest. Could it be something to do with keeping out rats? In old pictures of cargo ships tied up in the docks I've seen something similar on the mooring lines?" - Mike

"We will eventually change the failed lamp Madam; itís just that following the last two attempts the engineer has ended up in hospital!" - Claire

"Clearly a little potty" - Peter

Interestingly the modern building behind the lantern also caused comment. I'd often noted this appalling mess whilst in Brighton - the building was near derelict, concrete was spalling off to such an extent that netting was erected, and the whole thing look ripe for urban exploration and then demolition. However, thanks to Mike's comments on the list, I now know it as Embassy Court and it's a very interesting building indeed (and being restored).

"By jingo its worked; since the conversion, no one has dared park under it! " - Claire

"Okay, so who's nicked the other five rings from my giant 'Tower of Hanoi' puzzle....? - John

Gas Rochester Lantern on Statue

The civic vandalism here is appalling: did a council really allow the lopping of a statue's extremities to install an oversized gas lantern? Or is it an example of the most ornate column ever?

"The USA might have the statue of liberty, but now I see we have a statue of Rochester or whatever you want to call it. Truly awful Simon. Individually the bits are all fine but it really seems to be a case of the sum being less than its parts." - Tom

"You must agree that these are the most stylish ladder bar-equivalents you have ever seen." - Mike

"Right lads; now it says on the job sheet that we have to fit that light there, come what may." - Mike

"D'you know it's also a fountain? It'd look good in a lottery winner's driveway, it's that understated! - Phil

"Well, it's obvious what the problem is here. How could they put that overlarge direction sign so close that it obscures appreciative views of the setting of the sculpture upon the plinth? The photographer should have known better too, and moved a little to one side, so it didn't look as if the lighting column emerged from the head of the statue. Oh, hang on ..." - Mike

"I should imagine it would be quite disrespectful to the statue for just plonking a lantern on top." - Wayne

GEC Bridge Lighting
(Chelsea Bridge, London)

This lantern can also be viewed in glorious technicolour on Jon Salmon's site.

The Chelsea Bridge was built in the 1930s, and these huge columns, massive upsweeping brackets, and art-deco style lanterns make an impressive addition to the bridge's superstructure. As such, I don't think they're in any way 'dreadful', but reflect the fashions and styles of the time. I hope they're protected, and will continue to light the bridge for years to come.

""OK lads, we've to check this for metal fatigue.... but just where do we start???" - Steven

"That's the most peculiar looking pair of scales I've ever seen." - Adam

"I too think they look interesting. Nice 1930s style which would've had a nice Osira MA/V lamp fitted" - Colin

London Underground Island Lighting

Both diffusers have dropped out of this double armed lantern just leaving the bare GLS bulbs dangling in the wind. Not very effective! Nor attractive.

The road island itself is also incredibly cluttered with six bollards, two traffic lights and the oversized column itself on a huge pedestal.

"Not really fair to call it a dreadful, as to me it looks like it's incomplete! They look like bare 1kW incandescent lamps, that sort of fixture looks like it should have spherical glass globes hanging down... Anyone see the same?" - Phil

"I haven't yet been able to find a photo to prove it but I am sure Phil is right. Frank Pick, the manager of London Transport from its inception, was very particular about the appearance of anything which had the LT roundel on it. The underground stations at Southgate and Turnpike Lane had a specially designed four way lamp for this purpose, of a different design. See Christian Barham's biography of him, "The Man Who Built London Transport", published in 1979" - Peter

"To me the lights look like they have MAT/V lamps as if you look at the lamps carefully you can see two black shadows in the neck which would be the Arc tube support's I guess the round bulb is where the filament is located, I agree the lights look as if they would origionally have had globes fitted" - Colin

"...the London Transport 'lamp' that used to sit in Euston Road was one of several such that originally carried Metropolitan Railway signage and that must have been adapted post-1933 and the LPTB takeover. I think, from memory, that the company collections may have before and after shots and when I get the chance I'll check." - Mike Ashworth, London Underground

GEC Dioptrions on extended brackets

The semaphore signal on the right of the road elected most comment, but these gangly Dioptrions were definintely installed badly. Appalling daylight appearance, all the columns were linked with overhead wiring, and the brackets were far too big - probably against the maximum as laid down in the MOT Report. Oddly, the Dioptrions were installed over the centre of the road - not good for a non-cut-off lantern. And they were only installed on one side - probably why they were on such huge brackets, it was an attempt to throw the light over to the opposite side of the road.

"I see the brackets are huge (to support the lanterns above the centre of the road), and the look as big as the columns, which I see have overhead supplies and gear boxes at the top of the columns. Bear in mind if you were thinking of borrowing Dr. Who's Tardis or H.G Well's Time Machine to go back in time to pinch them, watch out for the policeman by the first column on the photo." - Colin

"Look out! There's a train coming! Oh,'s a road. So my guess is - the totally random inclusion of a semaphore signal on what would otherwise seem to be a road... Unless of course you have a irrational fear of brackets longer than 8 foot" - Phil

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