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ilp archive : london 1943

A brief conference was held on September 22nd and 23rd at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Storey's Gate, Westminster, London.

Back row left to right: W. J. Jones (Director, E.L.M.A), E. C. Lennox (Past President), N. V. Everton
Front row left to right: T. Wilkie, W. N. C. Clinch (Past President), E. J. Stewart (President), C. I. Winstone (Past President), H. C. Brown (Treasurer)

Public Lighting Volume 8 Number 30 (July-September 1943) and Public Lighting Volume 8 Number 31 (October-December 1943) were designated as the Conference Issue. Both had noticably more adverts than previous issues and carried news and papers from the conference itself.

E.L.M.A, E.D.A. and the B.C.G.A. were all thanked for their hospitality during the Conference.


Keywords: APLE: Conference, APLE: Organisation, Lighting: Personnel

The President Mr. E. J. Stewart. M.A., B.Sc., F.I.E.S. (Glasgow) presided, supported by members of the Council. Minutes of last AGM (held on November 21st 1940?) were read and signed. The treasurer, H. C. Brown, presented his report which was accepted. A telegram was sent to the King. The Council's Report was read which reviewed the work of the Association during the War period and was adopted. The auditors, Messrs. Gundry Cole & Co. were re-elected. Mr. A. C. Cramb, director and secretary of the British Electrical Development Association, and President of the Association in 1927, wished to resign his membership due to his retirement - he was made an Honorary Member of the Association. All present stood for a second in silence in memory of all who had passed away - including Mr. C. H. Woodward (President 1938), Mr. W. Dundas and Mr. J. Taylor. The President then gave his address. September 22nd, 1943

Summary published in: Public Lighting, Vol. 8, No. 30. July-September 1943

Presidential Address

Mr. E. J. Stewart, M.A., B.Sc.
Inspector Of Lighting Of Glasgow

Keywords: Lighting: ARP, Lighting: Authority Organisation, Lighting: Columns, Lighting: Education, Lighting: Floodlighting, Lighting: Future, Lighting: Lamps, Lighting: Levels, Lighting: Maintenance, Lighting: Management, Lighting: Materials, Lighting: Photography, Lighting: Signs, Lighting: Specifications, Lighting: Users

September 22nd, 1943

Whole paper published in: Public Lighting, Vol. 8, No. 30. July-September 1943

This is the second Presidential Address. The first was intended for the 1939 Conference but its actual reading was prevented by the outbreak of war. And now it is difficult to keep war out of the Presidential Address. The changes introduced by war and post-war lighting have to be taken into consideration.

Effects Of The War On Street Lighting
I am not discussing war-time lighting itself. Its principles and specifications appear to be settled. Nor are we concerned with the important, but passing, stage of change-over from war-lighting to peace-lighting.

Post-War Equipment And Practice
I am considering the probable direct effect, and more indirect influence, upon post-war public lighting equipment and practice of these years of streets dark and dim at night.

Comparison With Pre-War Lighting
We might compare the lighting of one town or area, from the last peaceful period, to lighting at a date five or ten years after the war. Again, we might compare the papers from the 1939 Conference with those from the first, fifth and tenth conferences after the war. We might compare the papers read at the Street Lighting sessions of the International Commission on Illumination held in Holland in June 1938, which those read at the next Commission.

Sources And Fittings
We might take a comparison the sources of illumination and the fittings used in 1939 and in some year ater the war. Would the war, by its experiences and lessons, or by its continuing influence upon supplies, produce any serious change? When it comes to installations, we may be restricted in our choice by difficulties in supply, even for some considerable time after normal lighting is allowed again. In war-time we have used one of the simplest of pre-war gas burners plus screening; in electric light, we have gone back from mercury and sodium to filament lamps. Does this suggest that there are possibilities along these old lines yet for post-war? Has the interval fo the war-years brought to the technicians any radical alterations or improvements e.g. the colour of light? It is the fluorescent tube which has been used in war-time - it is understood to have been tried for outdoor lighting in the States. Will it be used for street lighting?

Ideas For The (Distant) Future
Some suggestions have been fanciful; but it may not be necessarily impossible although it may not be probable and not even beneficial. Some were aired pre-war. Some were forced upon our attention by the war e.g. use left-over war materials such as searchlights. We may depend on self-luminous walls or road-surfaces as backgrounds - and keep these clean. The probability is that for some years we'll use the same sources as those which we have been using. For enclosing the sources, there are pre-war ideas as lamps set within the kerb. War time suggestions include balloons for hanging up lights, or reflecting searchlights off clouds.

Lamp Supports
Regardings fittings and mounting, the strong probability is that we shall use the same kinds of fitting, same ways of mounting and same ranges of mounting height. But will the war cause any change in our choice among the usual means of lamp support. Will cast iron go out more and more, despite its advantages? Will steel poles be more available after teh end of the European war? Will steel go out of favour on account of its rusting? And the war has shown up the need of painting by the difficulty of getting it done. What is the effect of the war on the supply and design of concrete standards? On the whole we may expect columns of some sort to remain the most usual form of support. What has been the experience with span wires? Span wires appear to be rather in disfavour nowadays, though they still offer benefits, especially in narrow streets. In Glasgow, in courts and back-lanes, low mounted wall brackets have been replaced by cables and lanterns on span wires.

Desirable Features
Some desirable features should've been obvious before the war, but have been made more obvious by war experience. Such are robustness; freedom from corrosion; a certain degress of standardiation; easy access; minimum trouble with bolds and nuts and screws.

War reduced cleaning and maintenance. The need of them for preservation of plant - and preservation of the morale of lighting workers - has impressed lighting engineers more than ever.

Probable Types Of Fitting
Will we continue with gas lamps, filament, mercury or sodium? Manufacturers will try to give the lead, but they would probably like to know, from this Conference, what are the likely lines of demand. Probably for some time, there will be fewer types on the market than there were pre-war.

The war has had an effect of intense standardisation on production for war purposes by simplification, reduction of number of kinds to one or a few. The BSI has extended its operations into may new - and novel - fields. This may continue into peace-time manufacture.

Different Sources In Different Areas
Will there be any considered and generally accepted basis of dispersal in different streets or areas of the available sources: gas, filament, merury and sodium? Experimental Streets
A number of larger towns had experimental streets chosen for the type of support present, or for the form, straightness and length of the street. They were used for comparison of different war-time fittings. It is hoped that such streets will continue after the war.

New Installations
At the beginning of the war, new installatiosn were partly fitted in certain streets or areas. Persumably these will be completed. Some new installations have been completed for post-war lighting since the War began; based on pre-war ideas.

Conversion of lighting from relatively meagre to a greater output of light, better distributed, will continue.

Post-war lighting plant ought to be as adaptable as possible. The illumination should be readily changed to some greater value, as part of regular progress through the years, and of demand from the public. There is the further incentive of increasing density of motor traffic.

If The War Had Not Been
What installations would have come into use if tehre had been no war? Would there have been more mercury and sodium? Would there have been some fluorescent tubes?

Retention Of Existing Lighting
It is generally likely that what has been erected in the last 10 years will be retained for some years yet. With so much work to do in completely new streets, conversion will probably have a struggle to be included in the programme of the first years.

Will the quality of our lighting plant, be as good after the war as before? The quality, as well as the design, ought to be better.

Gas And Electricity Supply
An indirect effect of the war may be upon the supply of gas or electricity for street lighting. Have bombings destroyed services which may be long of restoration?

Three ranges of mounting height are adopted for the specification of war-time street lighting. Will this triple division give any tendency, in a new BSS, to alter the dual division wich was made in 1937 into Class A for traffic routes and Class B for other roads? From what one knows of the views expressed by those concerned and likely again to be concerned, such a change is improbable. In the black-out there have been some increased application of the low-mounted modified units and less of the high-mounted. The same used to happen with normal units in fog.

Numerous lighting standards have been knocked down, not only due to air-raids, but by collisions and these columns are mostly still missing. A large number of re-erections will be necessary before full post-war re-lighting is complete.

Early Consideration
All these questions ought to be considered as soon as war-time committments and availability of staff permit. Surveys and drawings ought to be made. Decision should be taken which streets and lamps are to be grouped togetehr in design and control.

Testing Sections
The value of testing sections in some of the larger departments was amply proved before the war in meeting the problems of normal lighting. It is hoped that these sections will be continued and developed.

Other Countries
Ours is not the country which will have to face the problems of re-installing lighting in darkened streets and re-forming raided streets and relighting them. What will be the effect on lighting design of the immersion of other countries' research and designing establishments in purely war work; of the loss of international trade and interchange of information?

House Building
A much greater programme of building will be crammed into the first years after the war. This will result in a much accelerated demand for new street lighting. This will demand more money for lighting installations at the very time when more is being asked for the houses themselves. The building speedup will give less time to consider public services, what are the best kinds of installations, and less time to experiment first on a restricted scale.

Stair Lighting
The urgency of demand for houses and the desire to restrict the extent of cities and travel distances may further the erection of high flats as against cottages. Thus will develop a call for more stair lighting under the local lighting authority.

New Streets
The house-building will involve the making of many new miles of new streets. The other main cause of road-making will be the demand of the motorist and here main roads are involved.
(1) In the making of new roads, especially arterial, probably wide, with two one-way carriageways, and compelling appropriate disposal of the lighting units. Such roads were multiplying before the war and were already giving opportunities to try otu solutions like one-way lighting. (2) Demands for better lighting in the streets and roads previously lit; for the lighting of arterial and other main roads previously unlit; and for lighting in some miles at least of the new roads to be made.

Street Repair
Existing streets have fallen behind in normal repair as a result of the war. So tehre will be carriageways and footways to be laid and to be taken up and re-laid. This may offer opportunities to overhaul and improve the street lighting arrangements.

The vogue of island refuges may continue and their construction be speeded up. It is therefore desirable to arrange that the necessary gas or electricity supplies for street lamps or refuge or other traffic or direction signs to go on the island.

There are many ways in which architects and town-planners can work in conjunction with lighting engineers more than in the past. An immediate sequel to the war may be an increased number of lawless persons and this may call for more light.

Powers may be given to tidy up eyesores. In general, there is an abundance of public works awaiting. These could absorb much labour and would pay a dividend in improved amenity and improved health of the community.

The war will have a most important effect upon funds for the reinstatement of full street lighting, installation of new lighting and for maintenance of all. There will be competition with other local government activites. Almost certainly more will be needed, on account of wage, material and other increased costs, for lighting no better than pre-war. The result might be to adopt a post-war scale considerably less than prevailed before. If lighting is to be installed at all, the ratepayers must pay for it. We believe the public will demand its full pre-war standard, and even obviously better lighting, at least on traffic routes. This will raise the question of economising without lowering the standard of lighting or holding back its development.

This is the most expensive item in street lighting and its saving the most valuable. And modern political economy ought to be able to avoid using lamp-lighting or any other task merely to provide work.

Wages have risen with the war. It is true that the total expenditure has been much below the 1938-9 amount, by reason of less consumption of gas and electricity, less erection of new plant and less of other activies.

Standard Of Employees
Much of the temporary war-time labour is inferior to the pre-war workers in skill, in handiness, and in conscientiousness. Some of the temporaries would not have been engaged or kept in normal times. In general, however, departments will be glad to have back their former employees.

War greatly increased the use of overttime.

Quality Of Labour
Has the war experience indicated any desirable change in the kind of labour - staff, tradesmen, lamplighters and others - wanted for a street lighting department? Perhaps not, but there has been progressive changes. These include the use of fewer lamplighters in the old sense and of more craftsment and handy maintenance.

Central Control
Closely associated is the question of further adoption of central or automatic control of lighting and extinguishing. Considerable extension of this may be expected after the war. But for the war practically all our electric street lighting in Glasgow would've been on central control. A further question related to central control is: "Will the radio control which is actual in the fighting forces and the police and the fire service be available to other official services, including public lighting? It certainly could be adapted there to a direct distant control of lighting and extinguishing and also to the conveyance of instructions to works out on the streets and of reports from distant streets to headquaters.

Hours Of Lighting
The war has caused a closer observation of times of sunset and sunrise. This observation may continue and more exactitude may be sought to light and extinguish street lamps at the "correct" time i.e. at the time when they become or case to be obviously effective.

Period Of Lighting
Peace-time lamps of full power tend to be lit earlier at night and kept lit longer in the morning than BS ARP 37s, because their usefulness is apparent against stronger daylight.

Measurement Of Street Lighting
The war has not so far brought any publicly known radical change in assessment or measurement of street lighting.

It was rare to hear any member of the general public complain about it. People will cry for light of any kind when it becomes permissible, then will forget the war-time dimness and will go on to criticise what they have as not enough and will ask for still more.

Public Reactions
What will be the immediate post-war effect and what if any will be the permanent effect of the war experience on the psychology of the public in relation to street lighting? Compare the reactions of people in 1939, in the winter of 1939-1940 (the "more light" attitude) and in the following winter (the "less light" attitude).

Vehicle Lights
Lights on vehicles were dimmed in war-time, though latterly headlights were allowed, strong enough to shwo the way to the driver behind them and to glare the eye in front. The lights on vehicles will become brighter after the war. Will they increase beyond pre-war value? Will there be a greater tendency to drive with headlights in lit streets, an old tendency which the improvements in street lighting were reducing before the war? This will also encourage the lighting of the unlit and the imrpovement of the lit streets.

Effect Of Headlights On Street Lighting
The driver will be content with nothing less than the best of street lighting to avoid dependence upon his own headlights. Even if headlights are used, they are less glaring in good street lighting. The call to forbid the use of headlights , combined with the call for a street lighting in which alone they can safely be forbidden, will grow and spread to more and more streets.

Will the war have any effect upon the further supersession of tramcars by either petrol or trolley buses? Tramsways are not beloved by all road users; but they have been a great help to public lighting eningeers, especially by the provision of tramway-standards as ready-made lamp-supports. Tramcars do not, as buses do, lean over the kerb-line and carry away equipment for street lamps and illuminated traffic signs.

Traffic Signs
Traffic signs usually come under a lighting department for at least illumination and maintenance. Illuminated signs have multiplied during the war, principally directing to First Aid Posts etc.

Left-Hand Drive
Is "Keep To The Right" on the carriageway a more probable introduction after the war? This has an indirect bearing on our work, particularly as regards traffic signs but also as regards the placing of street lighting units. Are the number of vehicles brought here from countries with the more prevalent arrangement, and experience perhaps with that rule overseas by British drivers, likely to strengthen the occasional agitation to change the rule of the road here?

What will be the effect of the war on lighting legislation? Any legislation affecting lighting of interiors affects street lighting by, presumably, raising the standard which we expect everywhere, and by increasing the contrast as we pass from indoor to outdoor lighting.

What will be the effect of the war upon street lighting specifications and recommendations?

Will there be any regulations involving light measurement after the war? Just now there are limits for street lamps; but subject to interpretation by the police. Glare ought to be avoided and perhaps a suitable criterion will be given; but it seems meantime improbable that in street lighting the observance of rigid rules will be made compulsory.

Government Interference
Every war brings more interference by Government with our lives. Will the tendency to interfere remain? If it does, will it be a good thing? Shall we have compulsion by penalty or by withholding of grants, or shall we have only recommendations, backed by the moral power of our Association.

It is essential for a lighting department to keep records of work done, of time taken, or mantle and electric lamp lives, of inspections and repairs and renewals.

Perhaps administrative developments along the line of larger local government units would have come in any case. So far the war has not forced this upon us. If public lighting were considered more essential, there would be more likelihood of Government action to secure uniform system. Various schemes for combination of adjacent areas have been put forward. Some, like the combining of numerous district lighting areas into one County Council area with one department and one engineer definitely in charge - has actually taken place in Lanarkshire. For the small areas, individually unable to support a separate lighting official or department, help may be found in the tendency to regional union, or a least co-operation.

Independent Lighting Departments
What will the effect of the war on alteration in administration which has been an aim of the APLE throughout its existence; namely that public lighting is a service which deserves independent status with its own local organisation, its own head, and that head trained with the experience and knowledge appropiate for a public lighting engineer?

The war had a devistating effect on education in illuminating engineering. The scheme had just started when the young men in lighting departments were called away to the forces and classes were shut down. We hope classes will be resumed. The war has shown that the public also requires considerable education on lighting.

A necessary object of education of the public is to discourage destruction of public lighting plant. War seems to give scope also for the wanton vandalism which meets a desire of the original savage in us, especially the young. The designers and historians of glass appear to have rather neglected one princple use of it; its admirable satisfaction of the savage's desire to smash something and to make a noise. War time experience suggests that glass should be omitted in certain districts; large panes and expensive globes should be restricted in use in others; and high mounting (20' or more) offers greater safety.

Street Names
One experience of many of us in war has been the difficulty of finding the name of a street. Will there be increased sensitiveness to this aspect of street lighting after the war? We have been resorting more to the lamp standards as supports for the name signs as there is a useful combination here, especially with post-war lighting.

Stopped entirely during the war. Experiments with new methods were in hand in Glasgow and elsewhere before the war and will doubtless be resumed.

Evening Recreation
Have shopkeepers learned from the war to close earlier in the event? This has an effect on street lighting, in lessening the traffic on the pavements and removing the "help" of show window lights and shop-display signs - which are kept burning after the shop has closed until midnight. The desire for more recreation and amusement will have been stirred up by the war, hence lighting at later hours may be wanted.

Decorative Lighting
Decorative and display lighting has been in the background. Byt some war-time work on floodlighting can be applied to peaceful and attractive ends. And we can expect, soon after pease is declared, floodlighting our principal buildings. Coast towns may be expected to revel in freedom to splash light everywhere and in all possible colours.

Public parks will be more appreciated than ever and there are possibilities of lighting into the evening by some form a street lighting (for the paths and carriageways), of area lighting (for the games) or floodlllllighting (for the flower beds).

May some of the apparatus and technique for war photography be applicable for assistance in planning, measuring, assessing and recording public, display and other forms of outdoor lighting?

What is the most important thing in connection with street lighting which I have learned from war-time experience?
Under which Ministry ought street lighting be placed - if any?
Is there likely to be considerable increase in the speed of road vehicles?
Are people more likely to avoid night-work and night-travel? Are there developments in the manufacture of glass for war purposes which can be used for lighting?
Could aircraft be used for survey of street lighting over large areas?
Have plastics, which war is understood to have developed further, a field in lighting equipment?
Is any lesson bearing on street lighting to be learned from war-time experience in the other exteriors which have a much higher illumination than that allowed by BS/ARP 37, such as docks and railway marshalling yards?

Street Lighting - Past, Present And Future

J. M. Waldram, B.Sc., A.C.G.I., F.Inst.P
General Electric Company

Keywords: Lighting: Distribution, Lighting: Future, Lighting: Theory

September 23rd, 1943

Whole paper published in: Public Lighting, Vol. 8, No. 30. July-September 1943

Everybody turned their minds towards what might happen when the war happened, when there would probably be a better chance than ever before of making a clean start in street lighting, and incorporating such good ideas as there might be for the lighting of the future. Ideas had been put forward by the Press - even if some were fanciful then it was useful to look at them. We ought to feel that we were not boudn to do what we did before the war for its own sake. We should have open minds, and be willing to adopt anything that was new and good and better than before.

1. The Pre-War Position
The position was good. We were making satisfactory and rapid progress, and quite a lot was known. We led the field before the war. Of all the problems of the illuminating engineer, street lighting was the best understood: it was known where the observer was, where he was looking, and what he wanted to see; we also knew what was the mechanism by which he saw it. That does not suggest that we knew all there was to be known, or there were not many new ideas to be worked out, but we knew what the problem was and how it worked, and had a very good idea of what could or could not be done. Nor were all installation put up before the war were good. Some were bad: but they were not bad because of a lack of knowledge. Some might be bad because not all the knowledge available was used in their design. Some awkward compromises were inherent in the problem, and no amount of knowledge would resolve them. Some pre-war street lighting installations had shortcomings which were due to restrictions placed upon the designer (possibly by the Lighting Committee or due to finance).
Pre-war systems sought: (1) To make the right things obvious; (2) To give a positive indication that the road was clear; (3) To reveal the street and objects upon it, in a natural way, with the contrasts the same sense as in daylight. This was accomplished by co-operation between the lighting units and the surfaces on which the light fell. The reflective properties of the road surface were exploited to produce bright patches on the road surface; and the complete appearance of the road was in every system built up from a number of these patches.
One system which was much used, provided some light at high angels, which resulted in long patches of light very convenient for building up a uniform brightness pattern on the road, with some flexibility of lamp position, but with a certain amount of glare. In another system, the light was cut off at an angle of about 70 degrees, and this cut out glare, bt also removed the tail of the bright patch. This involved a closer and more rigid spacing of the lamps, but reduced the glare. These were the two main systems in use pre-war for lighting traffic routes.

2. The Present Position
Three suggestions are being made: (1) We must have something new after the war; (2) Specific suggestions have been made for systems which are fundamentally different; (3) Presumably research had been in progress on street lighting during the war, and therefore there must be many new ideas ready to put into effect.
It was most profitable to explore new ideas. A number of suggestions had been made both in the lay and technical press, but some of them were rather silly. We must avoid the idea of demanding something new simply because it was new. If the war tuaght us anything, it was that we must use everything as long as it was serviceable. We must not think "pre-war" was synonymous with "out of date" because the best we knew before the war was quite good.
With regard to laboratory work, in his own laboratory they had been doing a great deal of illumination research during the war but not on street lighting. Therefore he wished to dispel the idea that there was something new and staggering.
The fundamental principles that had been found before the war were not different, but we might improve our means of exploiting them. No doubt some new fittings would be produced, but they would be on lines similar to those already known. It was impossible to put forward a new system of lighting or a new fitting until there had been an opportunity to test it out, and it was quite impossible under black-out conditions.

3. The Future Position
He was not going to prophesy. The President in his Address spoke of the use of new materials, such as aluminium alloys and plastics, and their possibilities in regard to street lighting. These things would probably find their way into street lighting gear in increasing amounts; but there was a point which perhaps had not been realised. Aluminium alloys had been mainly developed for aircraft; and aircraft in war time had a short life and received a degree of maintenance that any street lighting lantern might envy. Street lighting gear was expected to stay in the open for many years without much maintenance, without any unreasonable deterioration. Therefore we needed to know the long-term weathering properties of these materials. He hoped we should be able to use them, and new methods of manufacture associated with them, such as die-casting and moulding, for producing lanterns more practical and accurate than before.
He was unaware of any important war-time development of lamps, with the exception of the 5ft. 80W luminescent lamp which was being used for interior lighting. It was natural to inquire whether they could be used in street lighting. The most obvious advantage was the colour, which was almost perfect daylight and most attractive. It struck almost at once and re-struck in the event of failure of power supply. However, it was of very low wattage (80W) and was deliberately made for interior use of low brightness (compared with the 400W mercury lamp). Therefore the light coming from it was very difficult to control and accurate light control was essential with street lighting. There was also the greate mechanical disadvantage from the use of a long light source and it did not have the same advantages over its competitors that the mercury lamp had when it was first introducted. The mercury lamp had an efficiency 2-3 times as great as the filament lamp; but the efficiency of the 5' luminous lamp was only comparable with that of the mercury lamp of a much smaller wattage. Therefore, the fluorescent tube did not seem a very promising source of light for street lighting purposes - though experiments would be made.
Many new systems had been proposed. Questions to ask about each were: (1) What is the defect in the old system which the new system seeks to cure; (2) Does it? (3) Does it introduce any other defects? (4) Is tehre any simpler way of overcoming that defect? (5) Is it reasonably satisfactory for maintenance, reliability and economy?

Low Mounted Units and Lighting from the Kerb
Lighting from very low posts, or from the kerb, providing a luminous surface to the whole of the roadway, seek to cure the defect of glare. If a lighting system could be made with the sources of light below eye level, the light from which is entirely confined below the horizontal, then there would be no glare. A principle disadvantage was that anything above eye level would receive no light and the whole appearance of the street would be unnatural and unfamiliar. Even if the system were otherwise satisfactory, this would be enough to condemn it. But the technical difficulty of lighting the street from very low lanterns was very great. Before the war a German installation was described where they used projectors at the sides of the Autobahn, constructed on the principle of large magic lanterns, to focus the light in the direction of the traffic but not towards the traffic. The light was kept strictly below the horizontal. There was no advantage in that system over motor car headlights: the kerbs were not well shown up and the contrasts were reversed; there was no "positive indication of a clear road" and the appearance was unnatural. There were many other practical disadvantages.

Very High Lanterns
Streets could be lit by lanterns moutned very high, suspended on barrage ballows. A major difficult of this old suggestion is the small proportion of the street surface whcih is visible from such a light source unless it is at a very great height. Large areas of the streets would not be lit at all. Attenuation due to the long light path through a city atmosphere would have a surprisingly large effect.

Lighting At Low Levels
It was thought that the very low brightness to which we had become accustomed during the war would enable us to use lower powers after the war The enormous range of brightness between pre-war street lighting - which was for first-class street lighting around 0.1 e.f.c - and a dark night during the blackout, was about 0.000001 e.f.c. - or one hundred-thousandth part. But the amount of light we need depends on adaptation - we would need to impose a partial blackout to keep down the adaptation level of our eyes.

Lighting by Searchlights
Lighting a town by the beams of groups of searchlights was most attractive. It would replace tens of thousands of lanterns and columns by a few large groups of equipment on the ground, with great attendant advantages of maintenance and power supply. The light would be distributed optically. The illumination possible is far too low to be valuable and the functioning of the system is dependent upon the state of the atmosphere. Smoke would have a disastrous effect and fog would blot the system out.

After the war there would be three principle problems: lighting residential roads, lighting arterial roads and lighting double carriageways. He urged lighting authorities to make use of the services of a competent lighting engineer.

W. N. C. Clinch (Vice-President): There should be a stabilising authority for street lighting which would override the powers posessed by the various rural, urban, borough and county authorities. Reply: Real progress would be made when there was a stabilising authority as was suggested. There was a need for a much more unified control of street lighting.
Mr. L. Minchin (Gas Light & Coke Co): Pre-war method of lighting which resulted in black patches between lamps was dangerous and a certain number of smaller sources of light placed on shorter posts, possibly with a cut-off or obscuring globe, could fill these black patches. Reply: Many matters of geometry came into play, but this wasn't so simple a solution as it might seem.
Mr. Sandeman (Stepney): We should have clear ideas as to what a fully qualified lighting engineer is. This was work for the Association. He also disagreed with the angle of worst glare and that cut-off street lighting was best.
Reply: The qualifications of a lighting engineer had never been specified and he hoped it would. The angle of 85° was given as an example of which glare was serious. He had not stated that cut-off was the best: merely that it was one of two main types. The choice between the two was econmoics and practicalities.
Mr. F. F. Middleton (REVO): He advocated stret lighting in such a way that the light was distributed in wide beams across rather than along the carriageway. The region some 150 to 180 ft. ahead was the most important as, at this distance, the motorist had 4 seconds to see, decide and act. If the pavement and verge were illuminated to a brightness equal to the road, the motorist would be able to see a pedestrian, cycle or vehicle.
Reply: There were instances of such systems in America and one or two here; for instance, O'Connell Street in Dublin. He did not think glare was as important as some people thought: disability glare was of minor importance in street lighting, discomfort glare was more important. The colour of the source made no difference to seeing or to glare.
Mr. Pykette (Coventry): Before the war there was a tendency to overspend on main thoroughfares to the detriment of the secondary roads. To much attention was being given to motorists using the main thoroughfares.
Reply: There should be a proper balance between lighting for the motorist and for the pedestrian in the design of the fittings. He did not agree with too much economy on the main roads to improve the side streets - the result was a town which was not well lighted.
Mr. F. C. Smith (Gas Light & Coke Co): The general method of lighting streets had arisen out of the economic position. Lighting engineers had to use a small flux of light and do the maximum possible with it - but if the economic stress had not been so marked perhaps there would've been a different method of distribution. This had led to the use of highly directional systems of lighting. How would Mr. Waldram light a street if he had a perfectly free hand?
Reply: Frankly, at the moment, he did not know. Lanterns on poles would havet o be used, much more flux than at present, and probably with much less rigid control.
Mr. E. C. Lennox (North Eastern Electric Supply Co): He was glad that some of the silly theories with regard to post-war lighting were being exposed. Street lighting in the past had been ruined by the economic aspect. There was competitive street lighting for the least amount of money, due to the parochial point of view that existed, which had killed street lighting particularly of arterial roads. In Tyneside there were 13 lighting authorities over a distance of 20 miles of roadway which was fundamentally unsound. Street lighting was part of a roadway, and the authority to control the lighting should be the one which controlled the roadways i.e. the Ministry Of Transport.
Alderman Thraves (Sheffield): He could not sit quietly and hear that street lighting should be handed over to the Ministry Of Transport. If a competent lighting engineer showed the local authority what they could do, then they would not be parsimonious. Sheffield was the best lighted city in the country before the war and he did not want the Ministry of Transport to take over the lighting. The whole country was up in arms against the Ministry Of Transport now in regard to certain matters. If local authorities were given suitable opportunities this would be a well-lighted country after the war.
Mr. N. Boydell (Eastbourne): Referring to the suggestion of shorter columns between higher ones, suggested that sodium lighting had remedied this problem so far as arterial roads were concerned. In shopping centres the problem was rather different. In Eastbourne, they favoured mercury lighting with dispersive lanterns because of the light reflecting effect of the shops and buildings, and the effect of colour distortion with sodium. There was no reason to have the same high degree of illumination in residential roads because there was not the same intensity of traffic.
Mr. G. E. Hill (Gravesend): Did not mind lighting authorities getting into pockets of the big firms as long as there remained freedom to co-operate with others. He asked if some investigation could be carried out into the effect of road surfaces - as the road surfaces could be changed quite frequently but the street lighting installation had to last 30 years. Therefore there should be maximum co-operation beween the street lighting engineer, the electrical engineer, the gas engineer and gas engineer.

The Design Of Lamp Columns And Fittings In Relation To Post-War Town Planning And Reconstruction

H. C. Bradshaw, C.B.E., M.Arch., F.R.I.B.A.
Secretary, Royal Fine Arts Commission

Keywords: Lighting: Design

September 22nd, 1943

Whole paper published in: Public Lighting, Vol. 8, No. 31. October-December 1943

Asked to speak on the aesthetic aspect with particular reference to the lighting column.

The character of the street is imparted by its buildings, which are related to its width. In street lighting it is our duty to respect architectural amenities and not to injure the appearance of buildings or the appearance of the road itself. In too many places nowadays a variety of authorities have dumped equipment on to the pavement of our streets without reference to what is alraedy there or to its suitability to the locality.

The streets and pavements may be littered with a heterogeneous collection of objects varying in design and colour, each local authority or public utility undertaker rejoicing in the individuality of their particualr contribution. Many of these things tend to confusion against a background of shop signs and advertisements.

In the matter of design, what is it we seek? The aim should be: simplicity, efficiency, refinement, and avoidance of pretentiousness and vulgarity i.e. "good manners" in design. Streets vary in character and a column which is suitable in one may be quite inappropiate in another.

A new problem in lamp design arose with the MOT Report recommending a post 25' high with an overhanging lamp projecting between 4' and 6'. Attempts to produce a design to this specification had been disappointing.

Through the good offices of the MOT a number of leading manufacturers were got together who expressed their readiness to join others in considering how the design of lamp standards might be improved. The Royal Fine Art Commission, who had offered assistance, felt much satisfaction at the enterprise shown by manufacturers and their willingness to collaborate in improving the standard of design. A conference was called in 1939 with the object of producing a number of designs which would meet new requirements and which would be available for all. Questions on copyright were waived and some 30 or 40 designs were submitted anonymously by the firms represented. From these the Fine Art Commission selected a number which appeared to be generally acceptable. Mr Davis, the Honorary Secretary Of The Conference, has a record of the drawings and we can hope that this will be resumed after the war i.e. with lamps and fittings.

In bringing light to the streets after the war, I hope you will not be content to use patterns which have been recognised as unsuitable and unbecoming.

Street Lighting Lantern Design In Relation To Town Planning

S. English, D.Sc., F.I.C., F.Inst.P.
Technical Director, Holophane Ltd.

Keywords: Lighting: Design

September 22nd, 1943

Whole paper published in: Public Lighting, Vol. 8, No. 31. October-December 1943

I was asked to write a paper dealing with the design of street lighting lanterns from an aesthetic point of view. It is most fitting that the Association should interest itself in the general question of good design at the present time - as at this time, discusion of matters of a scientific nature that depend on observation and measurement are out of the question. We are also looking forward to a fresh start. We hope the towns and cities of the future will be pleasant places with wide streets and open spaces, designed to well conceived plans; the new street lighting should be worthy of these places and should make them attractive by night as by day.

In the lighting of our new roads and streets, we should ensure that every item of equipment is not only efficient but is of good design and worthy of the prominence that lighting will occupy in post-war years.

You will notice that I used the words "good design" and not "artistic design". I have done this deliberately, since when one talks of "artists" and "artistic" one is liable to picture an individual with long, shaggy hair, deliberately untidy clothes and a general unkempt appearance, expressing himself in works that are so confused as to be beyond the comprehension of the man with a well ordered mind. We do not want that kind of exotic expression in our post-war street lighting - it is not "good design".

Characteristics Of Good Design
Good design cannot be measured by any physical methods. There are several universally accepted characteristcs of good design. These can guide us with lantern design. Five of these good characteristics are:

  • 1. Unity of character or style.
  • 2. Correct proportions of parts.
  • 3. Correct balance or arrangement of parts.
  • 4. Uniformity of scale of details.
  • 5. Uniformity of form i.e. no sudden interruption between adjoining parts.

Characteristics Of Good Designers
I have listened on lectures on the general subject of the design of glassware, but have almost always been disappointed. In general the language used has very little meaning when robbed of its frills and almost meaningless phrases such as "the beauty of pure form" and "fitness of purpose." The reason for this, in my opinion, is that the authors were trained in art only and were not technicians. To be a good practical designer in any particular material, it is essential to be both a creative artist and a good technician.

If British artists are to pull their full weight in assisting our industries, they will have to understand manufacturing techniques.

In the absence of such men capabel of dealing with street lighting fittings, there are two alternatives open to us. First, we can try to develop an aesthetic sense and an appreciation of good form in our technical designers - that is just about as difficult as trying to develop a practical sense in artistically trained people. Secondly we can combine the two essentials in the form of a Committee representing both aspects. The latter alternative seems to have worked very well in the case of lamp columns as the designs referred to by Mr. Bradshaw represent the joint efforts of technical designers and the Royal Fine Arts Commission.

The question now arises as to how we shall complete these well-designed standards by the addition of a lantern. We shall assume the optics of the latern has been designed. The features we now had to consider are the correctness and suitability of the lantern in relation to:

  • The lamp to be used
  • The pole to which it is attached
  • Materials and processes to be used in its production
  • Its surroundings
In considering these various aspects, we shall probably learn as much from thoroughly bad examples as we shall from installations in which care was taken to ensure a pleasing appearance. In selecting examples of bad design, we must remember that they may have been considered satisfactory when they were installed, and the only change that has occurred with the passage of time has not been in the fittings themselves but our ideas regarding them. It may be that our present ideas are no better than those that were held 30 or 40 years ago.

Our ideas of lantern design have changed. We now look for simple lines and correct form - instead of ornamentation; we look for perfect proportions and balance - instead of emphasis on any one ornamental feature; and above all we expect practicability from the manufacturing, installation and maintenace points of view. No matter how attractive a lantern may be from the aesthetic point of view, it is a failure and is useless if it fails in the practicability test.

Typical Lantern Design
The first thing to decide is the lamp with which the lantern will be used. Then the form of glassware to control and resitribute the light must be settled - it must be relatively large, and free circulation of air inside should be provided; its shape must conform to the shape of the lamp and to conform to modern ideas it should have smooth lines and a simple beauty of form without any decoration. The lantern head must have a contour and size consistent with the glassware, and since this is rather large, it will not be of cast metal - unless a suitable and reliable aluminium alloy is available. The main portion will be a spinning or pressing of copper; the shape of the glass indicates that a spun top will suit it better than a pressed top. The glass will be carried in a ring which should be supported by a concealed hinge and locking clips instaed of the projections familiar some year ago, thus avoiding excrescences that would spoil the outline. Because of the strength required, the connection to the supporting bracket will be by a cast top. In the past we have often had horrible bits of work here - we have had leading in horns with wires looped out and in; we have had anti-condensation boxes and heat isolating boxes added as afterthoughts. If they are required then they should be provided as an integral part of the lantern top.

Having selected a lantern, then the post needs selecting. I have seen prints of the various columns referred to by Mr. Bradshaw, and have selected one which suits the lantern.

Other Lantern-Pole Combinations
I have sketched lanterns that appear to marry with the design of the columns approved by the Royal Fine Art Commission. But the idea is for clean simple forms - perfect proportions of parts, a unity of design between the lamp, the lantern and the column, and above all, an absence of extraneous gadgets. By day they should add dignity to the scene and match their surroundings, by night they should reveal a new attractiveness in our streets and the buildings that line them.

Gas Lanterns
Only electric lamp lanterns have been shown. Gas was not included as I have no experience in the design of such lanterns.

Mr R. L. Greaves (St. Helens): Great deal more consideration must be given to the practical side. In many streets were trolley bus or tramway standards, and while they were there they must be used on the score of economy. With the present types of trolley bus and tramway standards there was simplicity and utility. One difficulty with these standards was whilst they were only 1ft. diameter at the street level, they were so big underneath that it was difficult to get them into position because of obstruction underground. Plus 25' is too high and preferred about 18'. A larger number of lower light sources on existing trolley bus and tramway standards could not be left out of consideration
Mr. J. S. Dow (Hon. Sec., Illuminating Engineering Society): Possibly after the war there would be new methods of lighting which would render lamp-posts superfluous. Progress had been made in interior lighting. However beautiful the street lamp-post might be made, it was always an excrescence on the surface of the street, and it certainly got in the way. There might be lanterns attached to walls or suspended in some form.
Mr. Bradshaw: An artist was not necessarily a man with a bow tie. The fact that a design appeared in a paper called The Builder did not necessarily mean that it was an architect who produced it. It was not correct to say all the designs shown by Dr. English had been approved by The Royal Fine arts Commission - some might have been modified for his lecture.. The designs generally illustrated contained certain general principles which were explained and emphasised quite clearly. There was some truth in the argument that 25' poles were too high for the streets. He knew of a case in which the base of the post took up nearly the whole of the pavement and the top of the pole was above the height of the gutters of the houses.
Dr. English: Any attempt to diminish the number of poles would have the sympathy of everybody who disliked seeing streets defaced. As for elimination of poles altogether, there was a German installation in a steret similar to Regent Street, lit by flood lighting from the tops of the buildings on either side. Obviously the method could not be applied everywhere. The drawing of columns were accurate reproductions of "approved" columns.