Around 1884, French Ambassador Bonnal erected several light poles along the road around Hoan Kiem lake, Hanoi. These were the first light poles in Hanoi. In 1892, construction began on the Bo Ho lamp factory with a capacity of 0.5 MW running on oil. By 1899, the factory's capacity increased to 850 horsepower to meet the office power supply around Hoan Kiem lake. After that, the government installed more light poles around Hoan Kiem lake, Yen Phu dike border gate and several other locations. At this time in Hanoi, two types of light poles were manufactured: lit by oil and by electricity.Before the August Revolution of 1945, more than a thousand light poles were installed to illuminate the streets, parks and the grounds of villas. The lampposts, made from cast-iron steel with beautiful patterns, are of moderate height and have a transparent glass cage to shade the lamp from the sun and rain. During the fierce war in Hanoi, light poles gradually disappeared due to many different reasons. By 2018, the Hanoi Museum completed a survey and found only one light pole left at the Yen Phu dike border gate and carried out procedures to collect and bring the artefact to the Hanoi Museum. The light pole stood beside the wall of the family home of Mr. Hoang Van Tinh, located at 104 Yen Phu, Nguyen Trung Truc Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. Mr. Tinh, who is nearly 100 years old this year, recalled that the light pole was installed before he was born.

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The light pole is being preserved at the Hanoi Museum.

Over a century of ups and downs has passed, but the light pole stood firm, intact and sturdy. The light pole is 3m40 high above ground, and the base extends about 60cm underground, making the light pole over 4m high. The light pole consists of 4 parts: Base - Pedestal - Body - Lamp.

+ The base of the light pole consists of 4 flat, rectangular steel bars, 0.5cm thick, about 80cm long, attached by a very sturdy system of flange bolts and cap screws.

+ The pedestal is 26cm long, 28cm in diameter, 2.5cm thick, round, smooth, without decorative patterns. Previously, the leg and pedestal of the light pole were embedded into the concrete foundation system under the roadbed, with part of the leg and pedestal floating above the ground. Over many years, the road level was raised numerous times, causing the leg and pedestal of the light pole to be buried.

+ The body is 285cm long and 15cm, 13cm, and 10cm in diameter as it tapers towards the lamp. It is divided into three parts and decorated with patterns: stylized olive branches and concave stripes on the column body in Gothic style.

+ The lamp is 27cm long, the diameter of the lamp disc is 20cm, and there are buttons to protect the lantern. The lamp has four bulbs (incandescent bulbs): three bulbs in the 1st section and one bulb in the 2nd section (this part has been lost).

The light pole is made from cast iron steel. Inside the hollow pole body is a hole through the base to the lamp to pass the electric wire. The light pole weighs about 300kg and is painted dark brown.

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The base and pedestal of the light pole

Light poles installed in different locations have a corresponding number of light bulbs: light poles at City Halls have five bulbs; in villas, one bulb and three bulb types; On the street, four bulbs types. The paint colour is also different: on the road, brown paint; Public decorations in the parks are painted blue.   

The Hanoi Museum has collected the light pole for preservation and display, a timely action to preserve the heritage of old urban memories in the face of ongoing development and urbanization.


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