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revos in folkestone

"I have attached a few more pics that were taken by me a couple of years back before the bulldozer came to Folkestone. The REVO C14403 series lanterns, which lined practically every side road in the 70s were occasionally fitted with the Prefect bowls but a sizeable number also had the original bowls fitted too - something which I had noticed as a small boy! One night, probably at Christmas, I discovered to my dismay that these lanterns used to switch off at around 1AM leaving the side-roads in pitch darkness, an event that upset me a little as a small boy! I have also attached a picture of the Prefect in it's typical Folkestone guise although these were fairly rare in the town, the C14403 series dominating. The attached photos are from the East Cliff area of the town. All these lanterns are now deceased."

"From 1973 (as far back as I can remember) the main roads of Folkestone were lit by Thorn Alpha 5 (shallow bowl) and Eleco Golden Ray GR150 types. The former all disappeared in early 1988 and were replaced by high-pressure sodium types but many of the GR150s survive to this day - maybe they gave better performance, who knows? GR150s are abundant in my current home town of Herne Bay in Kent along with other 60s/70s types. The town centre of Folkestone featured mainly Thorn Alpha 3 types with their bright pinkish glow, a few of which survive. I can actually remember the town centre lit by REVO Horizons, Diadems with AEI Sapphires just outside the town centre. I miss that cold, white glow! Smaller roads in the town centre would feature GEC Z8430 lanterns. All were gone by the late 70s." - Stuart Busby

I became familar with Folkestone's side-road lighting after many visits to the town from 2008-2010. Unfortunately, it was all swept away early in 2010. All photographs © Stuart Busby 2011.

revo c14408/s

Most of Folkestone’ side-streets were relit in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The council selected REVO as their supplier, opting for the firm’s mercury lanterns.

This street light exemplified the majority of Folkestone’s lighting. A REVO fluted column was fitted with an angular bracket which held a REVO C14408 lantern. This side entry version of the lantern was extremely rare, as most councils adopted the top-entry for use with standard swan neck brackets.

Other than losing its dome refractor, this example remained in good condition until the end of its working life.

revo c14408/s with prefect bowl

Some of the lanterns were fitted with the later Prefect bowl. Given that some of Folkestone’s streets were lit by Prefects, it would seem that Folkestone relit its side-streets when REVO stopped production of the C14403 range and replaced it with the Prefect. This lantern could’ve been an example of a transitionary design; one of the last C14408/S lanterns fitted with the new, plastic Prefect bowl.

The polycarbonate bowl had completely turned yellow at the end of the installation’s life.

revo prefect

The Prefect was also used in some side streets. It was popular on the outskirts of the town where it lit various 1960s housing estates. However, some installations could be found in more central areas.

Fitted to an old gas column, the bracket required a high-termination gear-box and an extra elbow joint to secure the top-entry lantern.

This lantern showed just how rugged REVO’s products were. After approximately fifty years of service, the lantern remained clean and intact with its original dome refractor.

gec z 9530/32

Some survivors were still clinging on around the streets of Folkestone in 2023. Interestingly Folkestone kept its high-pressure mercury lighting until the end, and didn't mass replace lanterns for more efficient low-pressure sodium units in the 1970s and 1980s. Which is what makes this conversion interesting.

At some point, the original REVO fitting was replaced with a GEC Z 9350/32. It's difficult to tell if the lantern is gear-in-head or the mercury gear was replaced in the A. C. Ford control box.

It's future is not good. A replacement 'hockey stick' column, complete with modern LED lantern, is already standing by its side.

Picture: John Featherbe

revo c14408/s with prefect bowl

This doomed column is probably the last example of the town's Group B stock lighting. This features Folkestone's classic combination of fluted cast iron column (possibility a remnant of a previous gas installation), angled gas conversion bracket c/o A. C. Ford, and a side entry REVO C14403 series lantern (colloquially known amongst collectors and enthusiasts as a Bell Top).

Picture: John Featherbe

revo c14408/s with prefect bowl

A side view of the same lantern and bracket above. This allows comparison with AC Ford and REVO C14407/S in my collection.

The one in my collection has a slightly different AC Ford box and was painted green. This rules it out as a de facto Folkestone example, but suggests this combination was more popular than I'd realised, and other installations existed out there.

Picture: John Featherbe