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wimbledon #1

From the 1930s through to the 1980s, a huge part of suburbian south London was lit with ESLA and REVO lanterns on swan-neck brackets. Installed and maintained by the London Borough of Merton, this huge installation survived a remarkably long time, with the final pockets of incandescents being removed in the late 1990s.

When Lee Gale mentioned finding some ESLAs lurking in the back alleys of Wimbledon then I was hopeful, but suspected that he'd found one of the three remaining small installations I'd found. And as it turned out, he had.

ESLA Bi-Multi Group-A Three-Way on REVO column with Lucy swan-neck

A classic example of ESLA's specialisation, a three-way was required to direct flux down each spur of a T-junction. The original lighting engineer should've selected a 195 82½ 82½ fitting, which I believe he has, given the symmetry of the lantern.

The Lucy swan-neck is without decoration; typical of Merton council who tended to pick brackets with no, or minimal, scrollwork. The fuse box was redundant as the REVO column had its own gear box - no doubt fitted with timeswitch and fuses.

The distinctive black and white colour scheme is typical of Merton council. I will use this scheme for some of the streetlights in my collection.

© Picture: Lee Gale

REVO Lodestar on cast-iron column with Lucy swan-neck

I'm at a slight loss to explain why this particular lantern was selected. As a symmetrical reflective lantern, it offers no light control (other than an attempt at non-cut-off vertical distribution) and yet it stands at the entrance to a footpath where the a directional lantern (i.e. ESLA) would've been far more effective.

Again, a minimal no-fuss Lucy bracket is supported on a cast-iron fluted column.

The whole ensemble is in very good condition (with the metalwork looking freshly painted).

© Picture: Lee Gale

ESLA Bi-Multi Group-AL Two-Way on Lucy Bracket

It's amazing how some lanterns survive, and this one has probably survived only because it's been mounted on a Thames Water stink pipe (to see a similar one, see the Beckenham installation.)

So it probably belongs to Thames Water by association and therefore has been forgotten.

It appears to be a large 2-way ESLA and the curved bracket and box are by Lucy.

© Picture: Lee Gale

P. asked where the stink pipe ESLA was and then sent me this moody snap.

© Picture: P.

ESLA Bi-Multi Group-A Two-Way on fluted column with Lucy swan-neck

As P. was in the area, I asked him to check out some ESLAs I'd remembered in back from the late 1990s. To our amazement, they were still there; albeit with replacement columns in place, and the fuse boxes of the Lucy brackets showing signs of tampering (has the supply been isolated?)

I was also pleased to compare these originals with a bracket in my collection which I believed was from this area. At first glance, they both look very similar except: slightly different flower finials and the scrollwork is lower on mine.

Apart from these minor differences, I believe my bracket was from this area and will be restored in the white-and-black scheme shown here.

(Pictures all by P.).

ESLA Bi-Multi Group-A Two-Way on REVO Moseley Column with REVO swan-neck

This doomed street lighting using was found by Lee Gale. It currently stands on Spencer Hill Road in Wimbledon, but as can be seen, it's probably the last part of the road still standing.

It further allows identification of Wimbledon's older street lighting installation: it's a REVO Moseley column (with the short base compartment), REVO swan-neck and ESLA Bi-Multi Group 'A' Two-Way fitting.

The mirrors on the ESLA are in excellent condition and it's a pity that it'll probably end up in a skip.

(Pictures © Lee Gale)

ESLA Bi-Multi Group-AL Two-Way and Three-Way

I told Lee about these two lanterns and so I'm delighted he found and photographed them.

Kingswood Road roundabout is hidden in a sleepy Wimbledon suburb. The whole neighbourhood is a Conservation Area, which is probably why these two ESLAs have survived.

There are four roads entering this roundabout at odd angles, with a public footpath making a fifth spur. Therefore a two-way ESLA and three-way ESLA provide the five main beams required to light the exits of the roundabout and alert oncoming traffic.

The lighting is from the 1930s, contemporary with the suburb, and very crude. Wiring is provided to the units via a pipe with a hooked top (this prevents rainwater entering the pipe). Then the exposed wire is threaded into the pole-mounted double bracket. Then, notice how large lengths of pipe are required to screw the ESLAs onto the ends of the brackets - it's a very ad-hoc arrangement.

The ESLAs aren't standard for Wimbledon, being of the much larger Group "AL" type. They are also both highly specialised; probably hand-picked to suit the angles of the roads entering the roundabout. The two-way is very angled and is probably 120 degrees or less - the three-way also looks to be a rather rare and exotic angle.

Hopefully this lanterns will remain in-situ!

(Pictures © Lee Gale)