Concrete Lamposts

Concrete Lamposts

Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 03, 2003 8:39 pm

Very dissapointed to see the very last of the Art Deco styled concrete lamposts being replaced in College St in central Dublin (pic)

These lamposts were installed, from what I can gather from photos and general style, in the mid/late 1940's, presumably their use of concrete a result of the shortage of metal after the war. They once graced most of the city's main streets including the whole way down Dame St, College Green, Westmoreland St, College St, O' Connell Bridge & the whole length of O' Connell St.

They are being replaced with repro Victorian columns (pic) which has to be welcomed, esp due to their high quality, but this last eclave of these concrete lamposts could have been preserved. What about the shameless lack of Victoriana on Stephen's Green, why aren't it's originals being reinstated instead?

The concrete ones have charming copper covered lanterns, that are also very effective at lighting the streets, and as a staple of Dublin's streets for half a century, they have earned their right to survive. There are now 2 left in the whole city, the silhuetted one pictured and one on the top of Pearse St.
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Postby urbanisto » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:02 pm

I like these lamposts as well But I would rather see them moved to a more suitable spot all together to keep their effect.
There are also three or four remaining on D'Olier St in front of the Irish Times offices but the other side of the street is lined with the silver replica lamps you metion. I would rather the whole areas was replaced with the replica lamps and the concrete ones moved.

Also in this area, the CC have removed the small grassy island in front of Pearse St station to make way for a bus lane. I hate this policy of concreting over these small grassy spaces. The end up looking so bland and dead. As usual the finish on the new island is very bad... sign posts abound, nothing intersting done to set off the monument in the centre.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:31 pm

I agree, the whole area is now windswept, almost barren, with no life or colour.

I forgot about the lamposts in front of Irish Times, may be sure they'll be gone in a few weeks too. Their re-instatement the whole way along the quays could work quite well, with bright white bulbs installed.

College Green is shamefully lacking in any lamposts at all, with the exception of 2 posts, the kind that were used to light shopping centre car parks in the 70's! Dame St also has nothing, just crappily floodlit from above, as is Nassau St, Westmoreland St and of course
O' Connell St. Structural freestanding lamposts are so important in urban areas, they enhance an area's architecture, creating contrast and a sense of scale.
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Postby J. Seerski » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:36 pm

FYI

These concrete lamposts lined O'Connell Street and bridge since the forties, possibly earlier. They also framed Nelson's column. They did look unusual and attractive.

There still are single arm concrete lamposts in Glasnevin, Rathmines, Killbarrack and the old Nass Road.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:40 pm

Most with 70's steel heads, I can see them on the Rathmines Road as I type! I've seen the 'mini versions' attached to Nelson's Pillar too.

Where did the city's vast stock of lanterns, columns and brackets dissappear to from the 30's onwards? Literally thousands were removed from the city centre alone, I'm not critisising, it happened in every city in Europe, (albeit on a smaller scale) just wondering where they all went as they wern't melted down for the war, did they go into landfill, sold abroad, or hopefully above all, are they all rusting away in vast vaults and scrapyards of the City Council, ripe for restoration and re-instatement? Dream on...
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Postby urbanisto » Tue Mar 04, 2003 1:57 pm

Many of the concrete lamps were still on O'Connell St and Bridge until about 10 years ago..maybe removed as part of the centre mall widening in 1988 - 90. I am almost certain that I have seen a couple of the actual lamps in the Globe bar I think... some bar anyhow. That might give you an idea what happened to these lamps.

I can't understand why they replaced them... especially since they were replaced by such poor quality lamp posts. Also there seems to be no logic or agreed design for replacing street light in the city. Litterally each street seems to have its own type and many street have a number of different varieties. This might be okay when street lighting is bieng used as a feature, eg Henry Street. But I think the CC should have one or two specific designs for general use.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 04, 2003 2:08 pm

Sorry, I mean the huge stock of Victorian cast iron lamposts etc. Looking at pictures of the city centre from as late as the 1920's, they show literally hundreds of iron lamposts & lanterns, hundreds, where are they all?

I also think the concrete ones were removed in the late 80s, I have a pic of O' Cll Bridge from the early 80s and they're still there, but yeah, where have these all gone/are going, pubs aren't quite as willing to take on 3 ton columns as well!
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Postby Rory W » Tue Mar 04, 2003 3:26 pm

Bollocks - I love those lamps, very cool and very much of their time and not faux-anything. Definitely the best lamps in town, can't stand those olde-worlde replacements - they don't add anything new for me. By all means replace those bloody awful 70's crap, esp low-pressure sodium (orange) lights but can we do something of our time and not faux anything?

Graham - I remember going to an antique shop on Francis street during the 80s and the entire back yard was full of green painted lampstands that my father said were originally gas lamps that had been changed over to electric - but there were definitely 000's of them there. So I assume the CC sold them
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Postby dc3 » Tue Mar 04, 2003 7:50 pm

Just amazing how little we see, the way these vanish.

Seriously strange to go Victorian now, recreating the worst, most miserable period in Dublin life. Then probably the Corpo get their design influences from pub design, formica in, formica out, victorian in, out, bleached wood in

Perhaps it is like planting conifers and whacking out the broadleaf trees.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 04, 2003 9:25 pm

It's not really a case of 'going Victorian' in that those silver column lamps are very much so a staple of Dublin, a symbol of the city at this stage. Their instatement has to be welcomed from the point of unifing all lighting in the city centre, and enhancing it with quality architectural street furniture. (although most were painted green originally, not silver)
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Mar 05, 2003 1:07 pm

Correction, there's actually 4 concretes left on College St, and 2 outside Irish Times, hence 6 left in the city.
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Postby GrahamH » Fri Mar 07, 2003 2:41 pm

Apparently most of the city's lampposts were made by Stanton Concrete, based in the UK, who also manufactured the thousands of lampposts around every great urban area, esp London.

You can see it's name stamped on the bases of a lot of the posts around Dublin's inner suburbs, Rathmines etc.

Trying to find out more...
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Concrete Lampposts

Postby David Chambers » Mon Nov 24, 2003 9:55 pm

One item of street furniture which fascinates me is concrete lampposts. Though now quite rare this type of street furniture was quite common until ten years ago. There a few varieties of concrete lamppost. The first type could be found on the following streets in Dublin and in counties Antrim and Down.

-Baggot Street
-The Quays
-Grattan Row, outside Inchicore railway works
-various roads in Finglas
-Seafield Road Clontarf
-James Larkin Road
-Winetavern Street
-Old Finglas Road

-Ballycastle
-Bangor.

A few examples can still be seen on Sandwith Street, near Pearse Station and on Wexford Street.

There were single- and double-arm versions of these, the latter intended for dual carriageways. These were located on:

-Baggot Street, outside Bank of Ireland headquaters
-Patrick Doyle Road, adjacent to the Nine Arches, Milltown
-Grattan Row.

I recall once watching a documentary, "The Seven Ages of the Irish Free State". One item featured was the inauguration of electric street lighting in the 1930s on the Dublin-Dún Laoghaire road (Rock Road in Booterstown). An "Irish Independant" article was shown with with what were clearly lampposts of this type. In the 1960s LEGO produced Matchbox sized versions of these.

There were two variations of the above lamppost, one on which the arm was the same as the above but without the curl from which the light was hung. This version was on Market Street, Portadown in the 1950s. This is apparent in the street scenes on http://www.portadownphotos.freehome. With the second variation the arm extended out horizontally. This type of lamppost could be seen on:

-Naas Road, from beginning of dual carriageway to Kylemore Road crossroads
-At Superquinn, Finglas
-At Cork Street/ Dolphin's Barn, near the Coombe Hospital there was a double arm version.

There was also a scaled down or "baby" version of the above lamppost which was mainly used on residential roads and housing estates such as Edenmore and Fairview Avenue on the northside of Dublin. There are two examples of these in Oldcastle, Co. Meath. A feature of this lamppost was a bar above the capital on which a ladder could rest. In former years these lampposts invariably had a cone shaped mercury light hung from them.

It is interesting that there was a definite of design with these lampposts, with well-proportioned base and capital. It could be argued that these lampposts have an "Art Deco" style to them.

The second type of lampost, of much plainer design but still quite aesthetic can still be seen on Townsend Street; Brookwood Avenue; Greencastle Road, Coolock; Jervis Street (a few examples); and Dartry Road. These lampposts were formerly on the following streets:

-Oscar Traynor Road
-North Circular Road (west of Phibsboro')
-Infirmary Road.

A rather chunky double arm lamppost was on O'Connell Street, Westmoreland Street, D'Olier Street and College Green. One or two examples can still be seen. There were also a couple of miscellaneous varieties of lamppost. One type, a double arm version was found on Beresford Place with a single example outside the King Sitric Restaurant in Howth. Another type was to found in the grounds of the Bon Secours Hospital in Glasnevin.

I understand that Moracrete produced most of these lampposts in Crumlin, Dublin. What is ironic is that for an item that could be regarded as rather British, the production of these lampposts was a result of De Valera encouraging import substition during the 1930s. Tariffs were put on British imports which resulted in the establishment of Irish industries to produce these products.

While spalling on these lampposts has resulted on them being decapitated or removed, they were nevertheless an aesthetic item of street furniture compared with junk that graces the Howth Road between Killester and Blackbanks or in Santry Village or the tacky rubbish now found on Abbey Street and the Quays.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:19 pm

The ones on D'Olier St match perfectly the sombre stock bricks of the Irish Times terrace.

I'm such an weirdo in that these lamposts are arguably my first memory of Dublin, esp the ones infront of Trinity's accomodation block facing onto Pearse/D'Olier St, they create such a gritty urban scene contrasting with the blacked facade of Trinity.

Moving swiftly on - the ones on Baggot St have been replaced by double headed silver Victorian repros - although they're not accurate as the Victorians never made this type in a double-headed form - still, very nice.

I see on Stephens Green no attempt is being made to reinstate the original silver columns, or even to put in nice modern specimens.
Right now the CC are installing EXACTLY the same crappy 70s posts that they're replacing!
Whatever about the asthetics - talk about a waste of public funds - the only difference with the new posts is that they're a bit cleaner than the old!
Take a look if anyone's passing on the east side - the old and new are standing side by side.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:22 pm

If ever you've seen Dana's music video for her Eurovision entry (don't worry, I saw it on 'Reeling in the Years') where she's walking around the city centre in the 70s, you can see all of the concretes lining Westmoreland St etc, just before they were replaced by those infamous floodlights.
(the BOI is manky as well)
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Postby urbanisto » Tue Nov 25, 2003 6:51 pm

Stephens Green: such a cop-out to replace the streetlamps with the same unattractive design. Another example is the new traffic island on the south side. The CC installed new lights on plain modern posts and then added a faux-period lantern the same as those around the Green's perimiter. What is that all about!

There is a complete lack of consistency and asthetic about the types of street lighting used in the city. Its appalling and I am sure it must involve a serious waste of money, all those conflicting designs and tenders.
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Postby GrahamH » Wed Nov 26, 2003 12:25 pm

I agree about the traffic island posts - they're a joke.
Admittedly I criticised them before for not being painted, with the steel left exposed, but they wern't finished, so I take that back - but not like the current situation is any improvement! And since when did Victorian streetlamps have frosted glass panels?!
The railings etc on this island generate such clutter right outside Newman House - the place is a mess when seen from the Green side.

These same silly lanterns have just been installed on the recently beheaded posts on North Earl St - a particular favourite feature being the gold finials adorning their undersides. These lanterns are about as historically accurate or original as Bachelors Walk - only worse.
Whatever about indulging in the reproduction of styles from the past in places where they never existed in the first place - to then churn out the most shoddy and cumbersome piles of rubbish off the production line is just insulting - not least for the Ha'penny Bridge where they've also been slapped - where the lanterns are an integral feature of the structure.

They're cropping up all over the city - its getting scary.

Saying that - a most charming lamp has popped up recently just outside the end of Pearse St Garda Station - it has one of the small Hammond Lane posts (Grafton St type) with a big Victorian-styled lantern on it that's just slightly lop-sided, for added quaintness - it fits in perfectly with the stone station behind.
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Postby PVC King » Sun Nov 30, 2003 9:13 pm

Apparently Dublin has its own lampost museum of sorts.

An official in DCC started a policy of retaining at least one sample of each discotnued line during the 1980's and they were placed randomely inside Merrion Square.

A bit bizarre one might think considering that the park closes when the lamposts would be operational. However at least samples exist and therefore no excuses can be made for the pastiche junk that is costing the ratepayers a fortune.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Dec 02, 2003 11:19 am

Virtually every one of these lamps in Merrion Square was smashed a couple of years ago - don't think they've been repaired since.
And they all have big plasticey CFL bulbs in them - which look awful. The Mansion House's lanterns have had the same treatment.
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Postby PVC King » Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:01 pm

I hate to ask but do you know any lamp restorers?
One vandal and bye bye unfortunately, the colleges here have NO RESTORATION TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES. Quite in contrast to our european peer group. In fact it will be another twelve years before we know how much built heritage exists. Sadly many of the finishing touches to streetscapes and street furniture will probably have dissappeared.
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Postby GrahamH » Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:07 pm

You have a point about the restoration.

I was surprised to see them broken - esp on the southside, in a business area, and in a park that closes before dark!
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Postby what? » Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:23 pm

i would say the fact the park is enclosed is the reason why they were broken.
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