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Old 4th Sep 2022, 11:02 am   #1
Roger Ramjet
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Default DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I spotted this lovely old pole in the seaside location of Cullercoats North Shields. The decorative roof is rather unique - although I seem to recall from my brief days at the GPO in 69" that these were a standard fitment for scenic locations.

The surrounding poles have clearly been replaced at some stage by plain ones & there is even one of those horrible galvanised one at the end of the road.

The original "nail in stud"' pole number is just visible albeit with a missing [D].

Many of the surrounding properties have retained the original open wire distribution brackets & insulators which is quite nice to see.

And for me, the most pleasing aspect is that despite it's age, this pole is also fitted with the most up to date technology i.e. a Fibre Dropwire DP on the opposite side to the legacy copper one.
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Old 4th Sep 2022, 4:48 pm   #2
Reelman
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Whilst I appreciate the use of natural wood to provide a pole in the street and something that seems to remain the same in an ever changing world….. why do we still use wooden poles rather than some other material? Cost? Longevity? Huge stockpile?

Just interested to know.

Peter
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Old 4th Sep 2022, 7:16 pm   #3
yesnaby
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Newport docks are heaving with great stacks of new wooden poles.
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 2:19 am   #4
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Phone poles have been looked after by the same people under more than one company name over the entire life of the service. They know what works best in town.
The electrical people who have more experience out of town know what works best for them mostly in the countryside.
Steel is fine out of town where the soil is chemically stable.
Wood is better in town with the erratic chemical activity that occurs each time a dog raises its leg next to the pole causes issues with metals.
The electrical people that look after lamp posts appear to have failed to take advice from the telephone people so lamp posts have to be replaced much more often.

Steel street furniture in my experience lasts eight to nine years.
From installation in late 2008/early 2009 a new unit was awaiting commissioning in summer 2017 with the old one well rusted at dog leg level.
I left the area immediately before the original unit was commissioned.
That is just over eight years.
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Old 5th Sep 2022, 5:27 am   #5
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I am a bit out of school here, BUT !!!
Whats wrong with concrete poles?. Impervious to doggy wee wee, fire, flood and if its not hit by an automotive device, is pretty much permanent.

In the Northern Territory, they are whacking great A frame poles made from raw black rolled steel "C " section, about 1/4" or perhaps 3/8" thick. They are 6" x 3" in section. I would like to preserve all the trees left growing, even if in plantations, because when they stop breathing, so do we!!

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Old 5th Sep 2022, 7:56 pm   #6
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

The problem with tall concrete posts is the need to add steel reinforcing for strength as concrete is fairly brittle on its own. The downside is that when the steel reinforcing starts corroding at a crack or joint, it expands causing the concrete to crack further and the cycle continues.
This is why most of the nice looking concrete swan neck lamp posts here in the UK have had the top chopped off and the pole sleeved with a galvanised sleeve and lamp mounting bracket. This is better than allowing a large lump of concrete with a big street lamp on fall several meters onto the path or road below !!

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Old 5th Sep 2022, 11:46 pm   #7
rambo1152
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjet View Post
I spotted this lovely old pole in the seaside location of Cullercoats North Shields. The decorative roof is rather unique - although I seem to recall from my brief days at the GPO in 69" that these were a standard fitment for scenic locations.
I always thought the cone finial atop the pole was functional rather than decorative. Maybe someone discovered if you impregnated the wood with enough creosote, the finial made no difference. In any case there are a few surviving examples around here, a suburb of North Manchester.

Likewise, there are lots of examples of brackets & insulators from the open-wire days, but to see any porcelain on a pole around here is a very rare sight indeed.
Go to rural North Wales for example and it's still a common sight.

You have to go a little further afield to cling on to the past like this

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Anyone like to guess where they were taken?
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 12:17 am   #8
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

In the 1970s the GPO did install some ladderless steel poles. This one served the house I grew up in
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.52...7i16384!8i8192

What is also evident from that image is ironically, that "modern" pole has nowhere to mount the new FTTP distribution kit so the individual fibre drops have to be flown to this pole from its wooden neighbours and then onwards to the properties, leaving an even bigger "third world" looking rats-nest above the street.

Of course all the Nynex (now Virgin Media) distribution is neatly concealed in ducts below the pavement, but nobody except me thinks that is a scandal.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 10:55 am   #9
Roger Ramjet
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
In the 1970s the GPO did install some ladderless steel poles. This one served the house I grew up in
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@53.52...7i16384!8i8192

What is also evident from that image is ironically, that "modern" pole has nowhere to mount the new FTTP distribution kit so the individual fibre drops have to be flown to this pole from its wooden neighbours and then onwards to the properties, leaving an even bigger "third world" looking rats-nest above the street.

Of course all the Nynex (now Virgin Media) distribution is neatly concealed in ducts below the pavement, but nobody except me thinks that is a scandal.
Ironically, Virgin have a legacy coax UG network beneath the lovely old pole I described in my OP. I never envisaged FTTP via an overhead route but this now seems quite common. Even where I live (Leicestershire) the recently installed Virgin network i.e. individual pipes just below pavement level are being out shined by pole mounted Fibre DP's. At least subscribers now have a choice of high speed Broadband providers which cannot be a bad thing.
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 12:02 pm   #10
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I thought that the finial on the top of the poles was to prevent the pigeons alighting on the top and relieving themselves onto the insulators below !!

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Old 6th Sep 2022, 2:37 pm   #11
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

A few decades back I remember a trend for poles that were a tapered tube with a sort of trumpet thing at the top. I think they were made of GRP. There was no obvious anchorage of the cables, they just appeared to come out over the flared end of the trumpet piece, presumably they ran down the insides of the tube and were anchored at the bottom??
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Old 6th Sep 2022, 4:36 pm   #12
dave walsh
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

In 1968 I worked at Post Office Supplies Cheetham Hill Manchester [now a Transport Museum]. It was really an HGV Depot. Four of us did the paperwork and organised loads. The drivers were usually out Monday to Friday with all the heavy kit. [I was able to get bits of surplus cable etc from the service vans in the garage]. The Post Office then had an open competition for staff to appoint a "Tree Inspector". You needed to have a good mathematical mind [calculating volumes etc] and outdoor interests. One of our Drivers passed the written exam and also kept horses! He got the job, much to the envy of some others but who wished him well. He, effectively, became a senior manager overnight-quite a move for an ordinary working class bloke then. His job was to visit places like Sweden and Finland selecting the very best trees for use as Telegraph Poles, at a good price. This was all taken very seriously by the Post Office in terms of quality and safety for staff and the general public-nobody wanted a pole to collapse. It was a very responsible role-similar to a friend of mine who worked at Lloyds Shipping Insurance and travelled the world signing off boilers. No certificate-no launch or champagne bottle

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Old 7th Sep 2022, 2:21 pm   #13
chriswood1900
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo1152 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Ramjet View Post
I spotted this lovely old pole in the seaside location of Cullercoats North Shields. The decorative roof is rather unique - although I seem to recall from my brief days at the GPO in 69" that these were a standard fitment for scenic locations.
I always thought the cone finial atop the pole was functional rather than decorative. Maybe someone discovered if you impregnated the wood with enough creosote, the finial made no difference. In any case there are a few surviving examples around here, a suburb of North Manchester.

Likewise, there are lots of examples of brackets & insulators from the open-wire days, but to see any porcelain on a pole around here is a very rare sight indeed.
Go to rural North Wales for example and it's still a common sight.

You have to go a little further afield to cling on to the past like this

Attachment 264339 Attachment 264340
Anyone like to guess where they were taken?
My guess a former British overseas territory like Malta or Gibraltar.
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Old 7th Sep 2022, 3:02 pm   #14
rambo1152
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Gibraltar, yes.
When I took the picture of the old school sign, the local bobby on his beat approached me, and asked me why.
I'm sure he wasn't suspicious of my presence, he genuinely didn't see the sign as anything unusual.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 8:22 am   #15
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I think the final was colloquially known as a "Turks cap" after ancient Turkish headware.
I like the idea that they were fitted to deter birds from perching and doing what birds do. Strangely enough, I've never seen birds resting on the metal steps of poles?
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 11:38 am   #16
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I can remember many years ago seeing one or two poles with a little pitched roof on the top to protect the top end. I think they carried phone wires by a railway.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 11:54 am   #17
ronbryan
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

A few years ago I got the crew who were changing the wooden telephone pole for a taller one to recover the pole-top finial for me. The original pole had a date of 1952 carved in the base. The finial is made of cast aluminium and has a long Acme style thread to fix it to the top of the pole.

Ron
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 1:45 pm   #18
rambo1152
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

I've just been for a walk with my camera.
These finials are not a rare sight around this North Manchester suburb.
I have noted the "preservation state" of telegraph poles is very regional with different rules seeming to apply. On my trips through North Wales and rural areas of Scotland there still can be seen porcelain insulators and crossmembers on poles which would have been removed decades ago around here.

So back to the finials. It's interesting to learn that they are metal, up till now I thought they were turned wood.


Note the wire going up towards the finial.
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Here's a pole missing its finial, but with a pigtail of wire that looks like it was wound around the screw
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and each pole had an earth rod connection of some sort, presumably the other end of the wire
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So, what ever other purposes the finial provides, be it mitigating bird "guano", or protecting the end-grain, it seems to me that their principle purpose is lightning protection. I just hope Ron's example hasn't got
a radioactive isotope inside

Earth-start domestic lines (party-lines) were consigned to history by the end of the '60s around here, but it occurs to me that a linesman perched on top of the pole would need a convenient earth to test those lines.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 7:16 pm   #19
stevehertz
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Default Re: DP 399 A Sight To Behold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reelman View Post
Whilst I appreciate the use of natural wood to provide a pole in the street and something that seems to remain the same in an ever changing world….. why do we still use wooden poles rather than some other material? Cost? Longevity? Huge stockpile?

Just interested to know.

Peter
It's sustainable, it does the job and it's cheaper than steel or concrete. It's also easier to add extra wires to using screw fitments or even nails.
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Old 23rd Oct 2022, 9:04 pm   #20
rambo1152
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It's sustainable, it does the job and it's cheaper than steel or concrete. It's also easier to add extra wires to using screw fitments or even nails.
Driving into Fleetwood from Blackpool yesterday I noticed scores of new wooden poles for FTTP. There seemed to be no attempt to use the existing "copper" poles as they do with most schemes.
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