GEC: General Electric Company Ltd, Wembley, London

GEC was a large London based company who made streetlighting for over 100 years along with 1000's of other types of electrical products. The Company finally ending its streetlighting manufacturing in the late 1980's. GEC's streetlighting interests eventually passed to WRTL Ltd of Tipton, West Midlands.


GEC Z4001 Large Watford lantern

An example of a GEC large Watford Lantern is seen here at the Sandtoft Transport Centre, Sandtoft, South Yorkshire in 2005. The lantern seen is mounted onto a trolleybus traction pole and originally came from either Reading or London.


GEC Z???? (Z5560-series) side-entry MBF/GLS lantern

An unusual fitting from GEC was this Z???? (Z5560-series) side-entry lantern for MBF/GLS lamps. Several of these lanterns still exisited on a factory in Wolverhampton, West Midlands in March 2007.

A little in shadow, but the side-entry spigot receptor is eveident in this view.

Judging by the toggle fastner and bowl-bezal, this lantern was most likely to have once been fitted with a glass bowl, but would it have been once fitted with both a prismatic bowl and a refractor ring? More information on these unusual lanterns would be most welcome.


GEC Z5580 lantern



GEC Z5580 lantern on an ornate Lucy bracket and column, Worcestershire, 2005.


GEC Z5590 lantern


This GEC Z5590 80w MBF lantern stands disconnected prior to its removal in Northwood Park Estate, Wolverhampton in August 2005.



This neglected GEC Z5590 stands on the corner of an access road to RAF Cosford in Shropshire in April 2006. The lantern is seen day-burning, probably due to the two-part photocell failing; the greenish glow from the lamp suggests that its MBF lamp has been burning for months and is now nearing the end of its life. Adding further to the lantern's problems, the spring-clip on the badly discoloured bowl is incorrectly fastened and is likely to result in the bowl coming open in high winds.

Here's a full length view of the Cosford Z5590. Unlike the lantern, the Concrete Utilities (Avenue?) column looks to be in good order.


GEC Z5640 post-top lantern


This lovely old GEC Z5640 post top lantern dates from the early 1960's and is pictured in Nottinghamshire in 2006. Aside of the smaller 'hat', this lantern is identical to the 'mushroom-hatted' Z5643 post top lantern.



These delightful Z5640 post-top lanterns stand guard over a statue of Queen Victoria at the main entrance to the City of Chester, Crown Courts.

In the same court yard as Chester's Crown Courts are several of these wall mounted Z5640s, this one is seen over the entrance to the Regimental Head Quarters of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment.


GEC Z5670-series of post-top lanterns


GEC Z5671 post-top lantern for 80w/125w MBF lamps, Wolverhampton. This unfortunate example has been used for air rifle target practice at some time in the past!



This GEC Z5678 post-top lantern for 35w SOX lamps in Dolgellau in North Wales looks as good as new.



GEC Z5680-series of post top lanterns



A GEC Z5681 post-top lantern for 80w/125w MBF lamps with original copper-coloured canopy in Sutton Coalfield in June 2006.


GEC Z5698U post-top lantern

This GEC Z5698U post-top lantern for 55w SOX lamps is pictured in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire.



A GEC Z5698U post top lantern for 55w SOX lamps burns brightly on an Autumn evening in 2005. The picture is taken in Toton, Nottinghamshire.



GEC Z5713 post top lantern



GEC Z5713 post top lantern for 35w SOX lamps with 11" tall cone. Picture taken in Lichfield, Staffordshire in June 2006.



GEC Z5718 post top lantern



GEC Z5718 post top lantern for 55w SOX lamps with 16" tall cone. Picture taken in Mapperley, Nottingham in August 2006.


GEC Z8128 & Z8228 Clearmain lantern

GEC 'Clearmain' lantern 250/400w MA/MB lantern with taper sided glass bowl, Farnham, Surrey, July 2005. Farnham is one of the few  remaining towns in the UK that still uses GEC Clearmain lanterns in any numbers to light its streets.

GEC 'Clearmain' 250/400w MA/MB lantern with GEC 'Difractor' glass bowl, Birmingham, West Midlands. The copper netting around the bowl is an original feature and was used on early examples of these lanterns to hold the glass bowl together should it become cracked or broken.

400w Clearmains on a crumbling twin-arm GEC concrete bracket, seen on an old industrial site in Cannock, Staffordshire in the Summer of 2005. Both of these lanterns have since been rescued and are now held in the collection.

Despite the on-going demolition around it, this lovely old GEC Z8228 'Clearmain' complete with its original 'Difractor' bowl and copper wire netting was still standing at the former 'Silvertown' factory at Burton-on-Trent in December 2006. On Thursday 10th May 2007, this lantern along with its GEC control box, joined the collection having been saved by Buckingham Group Contracting Ltd' who are the contractors responsible for the ground works at the former 'Silvertown' factory site. My sincere thanks go to the efforts of David Collin and Jonathon King of Buckingham's for saving this lantern for me.


GEC Z8260 MCF lantern


Pictured at Long Eaton railway station in August 2005 is this solitary GEC Z8260 lantern with two stacked 2ft 40w MCF tubes. The Z8260 lantern proved popular with British Railways in the 1960's and 1970's for station and platform lighting, and there are still examples to be found at some of the older un-modernised stations.

The same Z8260 lantern as above, but seen day burning in November 2006.


GEC Z8381 Three-Eighty fluorescent lantern

This GEC Three-Eighty lantern for 3 x 5ft 80w MCF tubes is one of five that are to be found in the old bus station at Haywards Heath, East Sussex. Dating from the1950's, these are amongst some of the last of their kind. Photo, July 2005.

Two more of the five surviving 'Three-Eighty' lanterns at Haywoods Heath; the nearest lantern's stay-bar support is evident in this picture.


GEC Z8421 'Dioptrion' lantern

A long disused GEC 'Dioptrion' lantern for 250w/400w MA/H lamps is pictured on an old industrial site in Staffordshire in 2005. The lantern, which was in danger of falling from its corroded bracket, was acquired for the collection in February 2006 after consultation with the owners.

This GEC Z8421 'Dioptrion' lantern mounted on to a wonderfully ornate cast iron bracket was still in nightly use when photographed in the city of Worcester in July 2005. Sadly, this lantern has since been removed.

Here's a full-length view of the Dioptrion lantern on its ornate cast-iron column in Worcester in July 2005; the old enamel RAC parking sign is a gem too.

GEC Z8426 lantern


GEC Z8426 'over-shoe' lantern for 250w/400w MBF/SON lamps. This 1970's example is seen in Dudley, West Midlands and was photogtraphed in April 2007.

GECZ8430 lantern

Several of these wall mounted GEC Z8430 250w mercury lanterns still survive on the side of a former railway building in the old mining village of Blidworth, Nottinghamshire in March 2007.


GEC Z8432 Viatron lantern

This GEC Viatron Lantern for MA 250/400w lamps is thought to have come from Bradford in the early 1970's; it is seen at the Sandtoft Transport Centre, Sandtoft, South Yorkshire.


GEC Z8451/2 post top lantern

Photographed in Sheffield in June 2006 are the remains of this GEC Z8451/2 post top lantern for 4 x 2ft 40w MCF/U tubes. The lantern would have originally been fitted with a white opaque plastic cone. My thanks to Davy Warren for indentifying this lantern. This lantern has since been rescued to provide spares for a similar GEC post top lantern.


GEC Z8526 semi cut-off lantern

GEC Z8526 semi cut-off lantern for 250/400w MBF/SON lamps. This 400w SON lamped Z8526 is seen on a sunny day in Mansfield, Nottingham in June 2006.


For reasons best know to Birmingham City Lighting Department, some of their elderly GEC Z8526's (and some Z8426's too) 'burn' 90w SOX lamps! It's not known if these are in-house conversions, or specials supplied to Birmingham by GEC? This day-burning example was pictured in Erdington (close to Spagetti Junction) in July 2007.


GEC Z8536 'geared' semi cut-off lantern

This gear-in-shoe GEC Z8536 semi cut-off lantern with Diakon bowl, was pictured in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in July 2005. At this time it was fitted with a 400w SON lamp and was the last Z8536 of its type in the area. Note the SS5 photocell mounted on the side of the shoe.


GEC Z8596 lantern

1. This quaint rural setting, complete with a GPO red-telephone box, is in Brewood, Staffordshire. The diminutive GEC Z8596 80w MBF lantern mounted on its wood pole bracket seems totally inadequate to properly illuminate the T-junction it presides over.

2. A close-up of the same GEC Z8596 lantern with a badly discoloured plastic bowl. The method used to directly attach the out-reach bracket to the control box - with nothing more than a gaspipe elbow connector - would surely have been frowned upon by lighting engineers in years gone by, but seemed to be common practice in Staffordshire in the 1970's when this fitting was installed. It has to be said that the general condition of the telegraph pole and the alarming angle it's leaning at also look to be questionable?

3. Evening falls and this GEC Z8596 has blinked into life. Mounted on its old REVO column and swanneck bracket, the scene, complete with an ancient VHF TV ariel, is in Gedling Street, Mansfield. The photograph looks like it could have been taken in the 1970's if it wasn't for the more modern UHF TV ariel mounted above its elderly counterpart.


GEC Z8600-series of lanterns

This ageing moss-covered GEC Z8611/250T lantern for 250w SON-T lamps, is an example of the 8600-series lanterns once produced by GEC for use with SON and MBF lamps. The lantern pictured is one of several that are located on a Department for Transport weighbridge site on the A52 at Saxondale in Nottinghamshire; these lanterns are unusual in that they’re manually switched, but as can be seen, are rarely used. This model of lantern is now produced by WRTL as their MRL6 and is the only ex GEC side-entry lantern still in current production in the UK. Here's a list of the GEC Z8600-series family of lanterns:


Remote control-gear

for 150/250w SON-E or MBF lamps


Remote control-gear

for 150/250w SON-T lamps


Integral control-gear

for 150w SON-E lamps


Integral control-gear

for 250w SON-E lamps


Integral control-gear

for 250w MBF lamps


Integral control-gear

for 150w SON-T lamps


Integral control-gear

for 250w SON-T lamps


GEC Z8896 lantern

This little remote-geared GEC Z8896 for 80w MBF lanterns is pictured in Lapley, Staffordshire, one late afternoon in March 2006. The direct feed from the overhead power lines to the lantern's control box can be clearly seen.


GEC Z9450 lantern

GEC Z9450 140w SO lantern is the forerunner of the later Z9452-4/9464 lanterns, but unlike the later versions that have 'vee' shaped bowls, this earlier lantern sports a flat-bottomed bowl, but the heritage is obvious.

This Z9450 is in Lichfield, Staffordshire and is mounted on a very splendid 'Stewart and Lloyd' fluted steel column, with a short out-reach.

As late as May 2007, two of these superb GEC Z9450 lanterns on Concrete Utilities 3D-Arc2 type columns still existed in Cannock. However, under South Staffordshire County Council's 25-year PFI scheme, the last stages of the 5-year I.A.R.P. (Initial Asset Renewal Program) are drawing to a close and the final replacement of the County's remaining main road concrete columns will inevitably take place during 2007.

An unusual view looking up the sides of the Concrete Utilities 3D column, and one which emphasises the triangular section of the column with its truncated corners.


GEC Z9454 remote-geared lantern


1. GEC Z9454 lantern for 90w SOX lamps. This Nottingham City Council example is seen 'dayburning' in the city in July 2005.



2. Several sets of these Z9454's on twin-arm brackets were erected on the Sedgemoor Park housing estate at Lanesfield, Wolverhampton

in the early 1980's. Incredibly, none have seen any kind of ad-hoc replacement and the installation remains intact in late 2006.



GEC Z9464 gear-in-head lantern



Attached to a building that was once part of the erstwhile Electric Construction Company factory in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, this long disused GEC Z9464 gear-in-head lantern for 90w SOX lamps is seen one late September afternoon in 2006. No longer visible through its 'clouded' bowl is the white enamelled gear tray mounted above the lamp, on to which the control-gear is mounted, a feature which distinguishes the Z9464 from the Z9454.


GEC Z9484 lantern

 The streamlined looking GEC Z9484 remote-geared lantern for 35w/55w lamps, mounted on a Stanton column with aluminium tubed out reach. I've only ever seen these Stanton columns with aluminium out reaches in Stafford.


GEC Z9480 lantern



Sheffield is a Mecca for GEC Z9480's - this GEC Z9480 side-entry lantern for 35w SOX lamps is photographed day-burning on the outskirts of the city in May 2006.



Another Z9480 day-burning in Sheffield; this one in the north of the city is mounted on a Concrete Utilities column with integral bracket.



GEC Z9481 lantern



This GEC Z9481 top-entry lantern with 35w SOX lamp was still in use when photographed in Bilston, Wolverhampton in 2005.



GEC Z9530 lantern

A Z9530 35w SOX remote-geared lantern photographed early one cold February morning in the village of Calverton, Nottinghamshire in 2006.



Another 35w SOX Z9530, this time in Mapperley, Nottingham in July 2005.



GEC Z9530M



GRP canopied GEC Z9530M remote-geared 35w SOX lantern on AC Ford wood pole bracket in Tankersley, South Yorkshire in June 2006.



GEC Z9536 lantern



A GEC Z9536 integral-geared 55w SOX lantern pictured in the village of Tithby, Nottinghamshire in June 2006.


GEC Z9538 lantern

GEC Z9538M GRP canopied 55w SOX 'geared' lantern, Toton, Nottinghamshire.



GEC Z9538M GRP 55w SOX lantern with Thorn Alpha 4 in background. Photo: Toton, Nottinghamshire, 2005.



GEC Z9545 cut off lantern



GEC Z9545 cut-off lantern for 90w SOX lamps at Sedgely, West Midlands in August 2005.


GEC Z9555 cut off lantern



The GEC Z9555 remote geared cut off lantern for 135w SOX lamps, this example was photgraphed in Stafford in the Summer of 2007.


GEC Z9565 cut off lantern



Examples of GEC Z9565 180w SOX cut-off lanterns on twin-armed brackets could still be found on the A610 near Eastwood, Nottinghamshire in May 2007.



GEC Z9554 lantern



GEC Z9554 135w SOX lantern with deep-bowl in Chapeltown, South Yorkshire.



GEC Z9554 135w SOX lantern with shallow-bowl in Ecclesfield, South Yorkshire.



GEC Z9554M 135w SOX lantern with GRP canopy in Mapperley, Nottingham, July 2005



Two Z9554's seen on a twin bracket in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire; one with a shallow bowl and the other with a deep bowl, but both needing insulation tape to hold their bowls in place.



GEC Z9564 lantern


GEC Z9564 remote-geared lantern for 180w SOX lamps is seen in Chapel Ash, Wolverhampton. This lantern was later removed as part of a lighting renewal scheme along Chapel Ash during 2005. A similar lantern is held in the collection.



Another Z9564 lantern with a less clouded bowl, but this one is photographed on the A61 at Tankersley in South Yorkshire. Note the photocell mounted on to the side of the canopy.



GEC Z9580-series lanterns



GEC Z9580 side-entry lantern without integral control-gear is for use with 35w SOX lamps. Picture taken at Shenstone, Staffordshire in September 2006



This GEC Z9583 lantern pictured in Barnsley, South Yorkshire is the 'geared' top-entry lantern designed for use with 35w SOX or 26w SOX-E lamps.


The Z9580-series of lanterns were offered in four different variants:



Side-entry without control-gear


Top-entry without control-gear


Side-entry integral control-gear


Top-entry integral control-gear


 Following the demise of GEC these lanterns continued to be sold, but as Siemens labelled products, until finally discontinued.



GEC ZD10517 post-top lantern



The ZD10517 is an enormous lantern measuring some 114cm (45") across its diameter, and weighs in at 30kg. It was designed for use with either 3 x 250w or 400w MBF lamps, or 3 x 250w, 310/360w, or 400w SON lamps. It was popular with many councils for main road lighting in town and city centres in the 60's and 70's; sadly, very few exist today.



This view gives some idea of the lantern's size; the picture was taken in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.


GEC ZP1000 column with up-cranked bracket



Here in Bearwood Hill Road, Burton on Trent can be found several good examples of GEC ZP1000 columns complete with their original up-cranked brackets. Now fitted with modern Industria 2600 SON lanterns, these outreach brackets were available in a variety of lengths, fortunately there are several different types to be seen along this particular road. Photo: March 2007.



A few more examples of the type can also be seen on the other side of the Town in Wetmore Lane, Burton upon Trent. The example closest to the camera has lost its original steel inspection door that would have had a cast aluminium GEC badge riveted onto it. In its place is a galvanised steel replacement, but the rust marks from the original door have badly marked the column below the present inspection door. Picture: September 2006.


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Copyright(c) 2005 Claire Pendrous. All rights reserved.

Please note that all pictures are by Claire Pendrous, or are part of the Claire Pendrous photographic collection unless otherwise stated; none of these images can be copied without obtaining prior permission.