Mr. E. J. Stewart, M.A., B.Sc.
Inspector Of Lighting Of Glasgow
Lighting: Authority Organisation,
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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"
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Stopped entirely during the war. Experiments with new methods were in hand in Glasgow and elsewhere before
the war and will doubtless be resumed.
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 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?