Page 10 - HGS Suburb News 144 - December 2020
P. 10

Suburb pillar boxes                                      Is the new LED Suburb street lighting safe?

           hilst taking our daily  VI box is behind Lyttelton Road   hen we were on lockdown
      Wwalks during Lockdown 1   at the junction of Widecombe   Wand the days were getting
      we realised that the Suburb   Way and Vivian Way.     longer, residents may not have
      boasted a variety of post boxes    There are  only two  boxes   noticed in the Spring (March
      and decided to add interest to   within the Suburb from the nearly   2020) that Barnet replaced the                                                            COPYRIGHT: SPEIRS & MAJOR
      our walks by looking out for them.  70 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s   old high-pressure sodium street
      Pillar boxes were first introduced   reign. The great advantage of   lights with 4000K white LEDs.
      in the Channel Islands in 1852   these is that their aperture is   Introducing ‘green technology’
      and then extended to the   larger so that A4-sized letters   that will reduce our carbon foot-
      mainland  in  1853.  Since  these   can easily be posted. One is at   print and save energy as well as
      Victorian beginnings, boxes   the junction of Hampstead Way   money is a good thing; however,
      have usually carried the insignia,  and Meadway and was installed   these particular lights are ‘blue-
      or cipher, of the monarch reigning   some years ago to replace one   rich’ and a cause of great concern
      at the time of placement.  damaged in a vehicle accident   to conservationists and scientists.
         There are about 30 boxes in   (Pic. 4). The other one on Holne   There is a broad spectrum of
      the Suburb and they span the   Chase near the junction with   white light available that ranges
      reigns of all the monarchs since   Kingsley Way is probably a   from ‘Extra-Warm White’ to ‘Cool
      the Suburb was founded in 1907,  similar replacement.   White’. These particular lights
      with the exception of King    These two boxes have ‘Royal   (4000K) are ‘Cool White’ and
      Edward VIII who only reigned   Mail’ embossed on them while   contain short-wave blue: this   migration,  reproduction  and   the world have a strong blue   down to safer levels. Brightness,
      in 1936 and was never crowned.  all the earlier boxes have ‘Post   causes glare and also reflects back   foraging habits of birds, bats   component in their output. As   and  therefore  vision,  are  not
         There are five post boxes   Office’. This change occurred in   up from hard surfaces, causing   and owls; destroys millions of   the colour temperature (range   affected. In fact, as there is less
      from King Edward VII’s reign   the early 1990s ahead of  the   even more light pollution than   nocturnal insects every night,  of  radiation coming  from  the   glare and reflection than with
      with his crown and cipher.  split between the Royal Mail   the lights they replaced. More   affecting pollination and thereby   light) decreases it becomes less   4000K, lighting of 2700K is safer
      Three are in the ‘artisan quarter’,  Group and the Post Office. In   alarmingly, a significant and   fruit, flower and crop production;   blue-white and warmer. The   as it allows for better night vision.
      one is at the junction of Asmuns   addition, the post boxes outside   ever-growing body of research   and disturbs the photosynthesis   colour temperature is measured   Barnet will already have
      Hill and Erskine Hill and another   the Post Offices in Market Place   is  showing  that  lighting  in   and seasonal phenology of   in degrees Kelvin (K). 3000K or   made  substantial  financial
      is on Hampstead Way at the   and Temple Fortune are both   excess of 3000K is detrimental   plants and trees, affecting their   less is called ‘Warm White’ light,  savings and vision will have
      junction with Temple  Fortune   large, oval, dual-aperture Queen   to the environment and health.   health. The whole delicate   and 4000K and above ‘Cool   been improved by changing
      Hill: this is the most interesting   Elizabeth II boxes.   The rapid spread of outdoor   balance of the ecosystem on   White’. 3000K to 4000K is often   from  high-pressure  sodium
      box as it has a slot on the top   All the boxes within the   electric lighting over the past   which we depend is affected.  called ‘Bright White’.   lights to LEDs. Residents may
      for an oval notice. The third one   Suburb are  cylindrical  pillar   century has caused unprecedented   Turning night into day is not a   Lighting of 2700K (used in   like  to  consider  whether  it  is
      is, strictly speaking, outside the   boxes and have fluted caps – a   disruption to natural light-cycles.  good thing.   Britain in many conservation   appropriate for the Council to
      Suburb on Finchley Road near  ‘pie crust’ indentation around   Light at night disrupts the   The  new  bright  white  LED   areas), remains within the   introduce these lights to our
      Waitrose. The fourth is at the   them –  a design  feature to   circadian rhythm of the natural   lights that are appearing in   spectrum of white light but is   streets without consultation.
      junction of Corringham Road   facilitate rainwater run-off.   world. It affects inter alia the   streets and public places all over   warmer and brings wavelengths   ISABELLE FICKER
      and Rotherwick Road. The fifth   The names of the various
      is on Ingram Avenue and it is   manufacturers are embossed
      something of a puzzle as according   around the black base but are
      to an early map this area was fields   often difficult to read and only
      in 1910! Perhaps it was moved   the two Queen Elizabeth II boxes
      from elsewhere at a later date?   include the dates of casting.                                                                                                PHOTOS: JANE & MARTIN BAILEY
         Most Suburb post boxes were   As communication becomes
      erected during the reign of King   increasingly electronic these
      George V (1910-1936). These   typically British red beacons
      boxes have a crown and plain   remain iconic.
      GR cipher without a ‘V’ (Pic. 2).    JANE AND MARTIN BAILEY
         We only found two pillar
      boxes  from  the  reign  of  King   References –
      George VI (1936-1952). The one   The Letter Box Study Group:
      at the junction of Northway
      and Thornton Way is the only  ‘Find Your Nearest Postbox’:
      box not situated outside a post
      office where there is a late   Old Ordnance Survey Maps:
      collection: 3.30pm on a week   Kenwood & Golders Hill 1894
      day and 10.30am on a Saturday   & 1915; London Sheet 18;
      (Pic. 3). The other King George   The Godfrey Edition.   Pic 1: King Edward VII Post Box   Pic 2: King George V Post Box  Pic 3: King George VI Post Box   Pic 4: Queen Elizabeth II Post Box



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