This page is dedicated to what is claimed as the 5th longest
lasting bulb in the world. Or we could say The Longest
lasting bulb in England!
There has never been much fanfare over it, as it just was
turned on and off in the staff restroom in the back of the store.
For 70 years! There are a few explanations, but it is
truely rare. So without further adue, I'll let the article from
the EveningStar*, and the words of Michael Atkinson tell thier
Amazing shop bulb that kept on glowing for nearly 70 years
IT started shining before the wartime blackout - and refused
to give up the ghost! Today The Evening Star
turns the spotlight on an amazing light¬bulb at an historic
shop in the heart of Ipswich, which has kept on glowing for almost
The super-bulb has been a constant element at Martin & Newby,
in Fore Street, since before anyone can remember.
Electricians, trying to shed light on its history, believe it
could date as far back as far as the early 1930s.
Even the Second World War, with bombs dropping just a few hundred
yards away, failed to "put that light out".
It survived the bangs when huge guns were used in Christchurch
Park in the 1950s and the decibels of The Clash shaking the foundations
at the nearby Gaumont in the early 1980s.
The roar of the crowd shook the town during the 1978 FA Cup celebrations,
but still it didn't falter.
The bulb remained bright as the crowd cheered when the Queen
drove past the shop in 1961 and even the crash when Cliff Quay
power station was demolished in 1994 failed to cause a flicker.
However, in the same year, the hardware store's longest-serving
member of staff retires, the bulb hasalso stopped working. Derek
Hines started work at the store in 1945. In the years since then-the'
Ediswan light bulb, in the staff toilet, has never been changed.
Next change in the 2060s!
Mr Hines, who is set to retire in August, said: "I can remember
it being here when I started.
"I noticed it the other day when I went in the room.' I
pressed the switch and the light didn't come on.
"It's been one that's just kept going and going. It wouldn't
be used much in the summer but in the winter it is constantly
switched on and off. It's incredible really."
Contemporary light bulbs normally last for 1,000 hours, so staff
are not expecting the replacement bulb to be around in 2055.
Brian Stopher, electrical department manager, has been working
at Martin & Newby since 1952.
He said: "It's definitely the oldest bulb in the building.
It's in an old part of the building and the shop has been extended
since is was put in.
"Part of the reason it has lasted so long is probably.because
it is fairly low wattage. It is the equivalent of about 25 watts.
"It's amazing to think that it's been switched on and off
for more than 50 years. I wouldn't like to say how long the replacement
is going to last."
Mr Stopher, Mr Hines and electrical contract manager Gerald Marjoram
have worked at the store for a combined total of 146 years and
are all set to retire in the near future.Mr Stopher said: "It's
quite appropriate really that the light has gone out now. It
will be sadly missed."
SHINE ON... The bulb has survived, from the top,
wartime bombing, guns in Christchurch Park, cheers for the Queen,
the roar of Blues fans and punk band The Clash.
...AND ON: Even the rumble of chimney demolition didn't shake
BOWING OUT: Derek Hines with the long-lasting bulb at
Martin & Newby which he remembers from 1945 - his first year
of work at the Ipswich hardware store.
Picture: SIMON PARKER
Kevin Barker has asked me to send you some details on th M&N
Light Bulb, and I enclose photocopies of the Evening Star of
6th Jan, 2001, when it made front page news. I regret we do not
have a picture of it lit or in situ. As stated in thrtext, we
believe it to be an Ediswan make, and of about 25 Watts, but
there are no markings on it We cannot be precise
as to it's age, but believe it to have been fitted in the staff
toilet during the 1930's. In that location it would have had
limited use, but even so, it's longevity is quite remarkable. The article caused a lot of media interest from local
to national, and even international with newspapers, raio, and
TV all giving it coverage. I hope this is useful
to you, Yours Sicerely,
Please click on the icons to see the original pages;
This page is presented to you by the friends of the Centennial
My sincere thanks to Adrian Lynch for persisting in finding
out the information on the N&M Bulb, Michael Atkinson for
the letter, and the EveningStar for the wonderful article.