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New Lamp-Posts In The New Towns

If all concrete lamp-posts were as inoffensive as the type illustrated here, there might be less bitter criticism of their design than there has been in recent months. This column, the Broadcrete, is cast in granite concrete and reinforced with steel, and its most interesting feature is that it tapers towards both ends. To achieve this shape involved a problem of extracting the core used in the casting: this was solved by the use of pneumatic rubber tubing in coupled lengths which vary in diameter according to their position in the casting. These tubes are inflated to the right size while the concrete is being cast (by high-frequency vibration) and are then deflated so that they can easily be withdrawn.

The concrete has smooth, unbroken lines: the equipment chamber, which often forms an ugly bulge at the base of the column, is housed in the broadest part of the structure, where it is less likely to be damaged and can be attended to without crouching on the pavement. This also leaves the base solid, the better to withstand the impact of heavy vehicles. A further advantage is that because of its slender root, the column is more suitable than other models for insertion in footpaths already crowded with mains and cables - thus permitting a freer choice of sites.

Designed by A. M. Rankin and made by Tarslag Ltd of Wolverhampton, the Broadcrete column has already been chosen for the Lansbury neighbourhood of Poplar, for Crawley and Stevenage new towns, and for Margate. The standard cross-section of the column is square with rounded corners, but rectangular, circular and hexagonal versions may be produced. The surface is ground and semi-polished and brings out the natural colours of the granite in the concrete.

The columns are made in two sizes for Class A and Class B roads. In the former the lamp is 25 feet above the ground and in the latter 15 feet.

Concrete lamp-posts do not have to look like "sick serpents" (John Betjaman's phrase). The Broadcrete column for Class B roads is shown on the right with some of the brackets designed for use with it. Sockets and steel dowels ensure perfect alignment between column and bracket.

© Design: Number 42