I have compiled here a short history showing various pictures of the styles of the streetlighting in the Bedford Area and how they have have varied over the decades. hopefully this will give a brief overview of Bedfords streetlighting history. By no means have all areas been subject to wholesale replacement over the years which means there are still loads of survivingcolumns and lanterns in the town, some of which date to the 1930's. Please see my photo galleries for numerous examples of surviving lamps. I have tried to keep the timeline fairly accurate but please email me if there are any obvious omissions or errors.
These 2 pictures show typical lighting on the major roads (Left) and minor roads (right) in Bedford in the early 20th century, it is most likely that these ran on town (coal) gas.
1930's to 1940's
The 30s saw the gradual appearance of electric streetlighting in the town such as these examples, luckily many eaxamples of the minor road style (right) still survive now running MBF lamps instead of the original GLS lamps they would have had. It is probable that the highly ornate main road fitting (left) would have originaly run on gas.
More Examples of the period. Similar designs do still exist today see the Bedford photo set for examples.
1950's to 1960's
A lot of the Main road routes were installed with simpler columns all running what appear to be GEC Z8128 'Clearmain' lanterns, probably running MA/V Lamps at the time. Scot Bearford's website shows some of these still in situ, not local though (see links page)
Some more examples of 50's lighting on the main roads in the town. I am not sure what lantern type is in the centre picture below.
The late 1950's saw the large scale introduction of flourescent lighting into the main roads of the town.
The picture on the left below shows a rare example of lampost replacment in the early 1960's the old cast iron with GLS lantern is replaced with what I think is a flourescent lantern (left). Meanwhile in the minor roads concrete was the column of choice, some with GEC Small Oxfords (right).
Another very popular lantern of the era was the GEC Z5590 (left), this one on a CU avenue column which could be older than the lantern it supports, also concrete columns supporting post top GEC Z5670 MBF Lanterns (right). In my opinion the GEC Z5670 range and similar are a most usless design of lantern due to only giving light in a horizontal direction. The post top lanterns tended to be installed to 'infill' on roads where the cast columns were too far apart for modern condtiions or sometimes were fitted as a complete replacement for older columns.