In another step towards our future refurbishment works, we’ve been to see the prototype designs for the improved ornate lighting on the Old Bridge and Esplanade. The purpose of the visit was to check the designs meet our strict quality and aesthetic requirements, and will be suitable to place on the Grade II listed structure. The prototypes have been made from a variety of materials such as steel, iron, copper, and even 3D-printed plastic. 3D printing was suggested by lighting supplier DW Windsor as it allows faster and better value production of the prototypes, and can be easily modified if necessary. However, 3D printed plastic is generally not strong or durable enough to use as a structural material so once the designs are finalised they would be produced in a metal that’s suitable for use on the Old Bridge and Esplanade. A bespoke replica of the 8-sided ‘Octagonal Lantern’ as seen on the Esplanade and Old Bridge Strood Approach has been produced from scratch, whereas the ‘Rochester’ style lantern is an existing product that is similar in style to the original lanterns on the Old Bridge. The ‘Rochester’ style lantern is made by ‘spinning’ the metal as seen here, and the ‘Octagonal Lantern’ is made from sheets of copper, cut, folded, and soldered together. Both of these techniques date back to at least the Victorian era and are traditional methods for producing lanterns in these styles. The prototypes are being produced by DW Windsor, and we’ve included Engineer Rob’s photographs of some of the mock-ups here.
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