Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sodium Gallery


There's no excuse for this. A High Pressure Sodium streetlight has been plonked here solely to light-pollute a few yards of footpath leading from the village of East Hagbourne to the neighbouring town of Didcot. As well as destroying any sense of rural tranquility in this "Conservation Area" through a combination of the putrid peach colour and searing intensity of the glaring light, the badly-positioned lumiere bangs the light directly in your eyes on approach from Hagbourne, as can be seen in the second picture. This means that one's eye is blinded to whatever evils are sure to lurk beyond the light, thus negating the supposed fear-reducing benefit of illuminating the path in the first place.


Further along the same path, but out of the Conservation Area and into Didcot, our way is lit by the ubiquitous monochrome of Low Pressure Sodium. The appearance of verdant hedgerows, tree foliage and lush green grass seen by day are replaced at night with the omniscient orange fug, which gives a more threatening atmosphere. The light is, however, rather less glaring than the HPS shown above. White light replacements would out-perform both types of sodium shown here and, at a lower level of illumination, would be considerably less intrusive.

Colour-corrected H.P.S. [White Sodium]

Of interest for two reasons. Firstly, to demonstrate the vastly improved colour-rendering properties given by this latest generation of High Pressure Sodium. A wider spectrum of light is produced, albeit with a yellow bias. The lights are, however, extremely bright. Almost daylight levels of illumination; the need for which I must question in relation to this particular stretch of road. Formerly the A34, it is now the B34879 or something, linking the villages of Drayton and Steventon. The only turning or entrance on this stretch is shown on the left of this view taken from the last bus-stop before leaving Drayton. It leads to a domestic waste tip, open daylight hours only, and a small Golf Club. If the aim here is to illuminate the footpath to the right of the road, then why light both sides? This high-mast rig must have cost a fortune. Why not just light the path with pedestrian-level lumieres?

I will be updating this section with more galleries soon. Highlights to come include a calming white-light arrangement illuminating Swindon's famous Magic Roundabout , colour-corrected HPS on St.Giles in Oxford and, if I can stump up the fuel costs and if they are indeed still there, the Millington Road gaslights in Cambridge. When I saw these lights a few years ago, I understood them to be the last example of a gas lighting installation still operating in this country. A very fine light they give, too. Brighter than you might expect and pure white in colour. If anyone knows the current status of these historic lights, I'd be grateful if you'd let me know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


when you do the swindon photo

How about adding it to

11:15 am  
Blogger Basil Brown said...


It's coming...

One more heave!

5:18 am  
Blogger Izzie said...

Hello, we are currently running a campaign to add more street lights down the hagbourne cycle track, could we possibly get your views on this for our research?

7:18 pm  
Blogger Basil Brown said...

Hi Izzie,

Sorry for not replying sooner - Blogger's stopped notifying me of comments for some reason.

If you reply with an e-mail address [which won't be published] I'll give you my views on illuminating cycle paths.

9:55 pm  
Blogger Izzie said...

Thank you for replying :) this is the email my group are using for everything relating to our campaign :

8:12 pm  

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