LED arrives at Mercuryvapour Towers

OH dear. It’s as if the future landed on my doorstep, and I didn’t really want it to. Yes, it’s almost inevitable, that the leafy street that leads up to Mercury vapour Towers, and it’s gravel driveway, will no longer be lit by mercury. The transition to LED from the traditional lantern has been much quicker than I expected, and it’s almost… ALMOST lighting up my doorstep.

Seeing as I’ll probably never publish this post, I might as well describe the actual street that MV Towers resides on. It’s a 1940s/50s cul de sac, which until 2005, was illuminated by one Revo Moseley cast iron column, which was installed when the road was built. In 2005, the council installed a new lighting column at roughly the bottom third of the row, to cast light on the otherwise dark square. Both lanterns were Philips Streetfighter SGS101s, as was the tradition at the time. The council seemed to get batches of different lanterns and use them as general replacements.

In 2012, the streetfighter outside of my house got converted to a mercury. I won’t go into how and why this happened, but it did. Similarly, some time after, the other Streetfighter also received a mercury lamp. Nearby lanterns also received CDM lamps,leaving a white-light trail up the road.

In 2014, Hartlepool council began to replace their entire lantern stock with LED, starting off with the estates. The rules were, any column under 20 years old were to be relamped with LED lanterns, anything older would be replaced

Hundreds, if not thousands of lanterns were removed on the estates, replaced with Urbis Axia lanterns. The older (or concrete) columns stayed in their place, retaining their old lanterns. For now.

As of the time I type this, the replacement of new column lanterns is still taking place, and as far as I know, there’s not been a widespread replacement of columns. I say this, as of December 27th, and my passing of the concrete Mercuries off Oxford Road, they were still there and retaining their GEC Z5590s. I assume, that when they finish the mass replacement of the lanterns, the council will start on the 2nd phase, and begin to replace the elderly columns.

This, if you’ve been paying attention is where it has significance for me, as on 12th January, at about 10:42, the new Philips Streetfighter got removed, and is now replaced with one of the Urbis Axias. As it’s still on an old column, the first Streetfighter remains intact. For now.

For my own records, and seeing as I’ll probably never publish this, the rest of the nearby street (that road beginning with R, just in case I do publish it) was relamped on 19th January. Oddly, this is the first time on this day, that the webcam ever malfunctioned, yet still managed to record an image. 19/1/15 07:25:29 – the image has JPEG corruption on it, but not through the entire picture. The next picture taken was at 7:37:09. I’m not sure if the machine rebooted, but a number of the lanterns in the picture had power cycled and were just coming back on. I was out of the house by this point, and on my way to Employment Palace, so I’d have never seen this, or known what happened. What I do know is that column 6 in R-road, carrying a ZX1 and a CDM lamp had been off most of the night, as the lamp had failed, and would only remain on for a small period of time, had its final restrike. It fired back up, and was switched off shortly after by its sensor. At 06:53, it switched off for its final time. At 10:11, this particular lantern was replaced. The rest of the road’s lanterns were also replaced in this time period. It signified the end.

The end of street lighting as I know it. Or rather, the beginning.

Something I noticed entirely by accident, while looking through the webcam photos is that the lights dim just after midnight and brighten up again at around 5AM, give or take 10 minutes. This intrigues me. I’ve seen videos where these lights dim, but I’ve never seen it for myself. The wqay that is apparently hard coded into the lanterns is that it reduces brightness slowly over a period of about five minutes, which would make sense. I suppose if the light is right outside your window, you don’t want a sudden flash of brightness.

I’ve emailed Andrew to see if he can shed any light (ha ha) on this, but as of yet, he hasn’t responded. I’m interested to learn more.