Trainspotters, the industrial lighting people in Gloucestershire, take a modern approach to vintage. As salvage experts, founders Tony Brook and Jesse Carrington are only too aware that the supply of discarded street and factory lighting that they source throughout the UK and Europe is finite. They can provide for one-off customers with their eyes closed, but fulfilling orders for restaurants and shops means buying in bulk. Or, better still, making in bulk. Tony and Jesse have put their favorite items back into production, proud to be made in England once more.
The company’s full range of designs is on view in the Trainspotters factory showroom in a historic mill in Stroud, on the edge of the Cotswolds. It’s open weekdays and is an hour and a half train ride from London.
Above: Originally rescued from the Dunlop factory near Birmingham, England, these 17-inch lights have become Trainspotters classics. Sourcing manufacturers can be more challenging than sourcing the original lights, but thanks to Trainspotters, new versions of these globular shades are now manufactured once again in Birmingham. They’re made from heavy spun steel coated in vitreous enamel. The Dunlop Light is available in black, gray, and white; £195. Trainspotters ships internationally and uses UPS whenever possible. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.
Above: At Trainspotters, there is a certain pride in the words “unlimited stock availability.” That is certainly the case with the reintroduced Dunlop Light, shown here in gray, as well as the rolls of braided cord, above right, available in a variety of colors; three meters of “flex,” as its known in the UK, are supplied with each hanging lamp.
Above: The British bulkhead wall light also enjoys unlimited stock availability. Using a glass mold from the 1940s, Trainspotters put it back into production at the same glass foundry that made the originals. Classic Prismatic Bulkheads are £145 each.
Above: Another original idea from Trainspotters: the embossed back of the Classic Prismatic Bulkhead light. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.
Above L: The company has also revived the stacking chair, a village hall classic made from the 1930s in tubular steel and plywood. In its previous life, the stacking chair was perfect for listening to speakers from the Women’s Institute; now Trainspotters has stretched its legs to standard dining chair height. Made in England, the Stacking Chair (£120 ) is still plywood, minus the splinters. Above R: The Trainspotters stacking bar stool (£85) has a parallel story except that it was taken from the school science lab. With a stained and beeswax-polished seat, the stacking stool has been reconfigured to bar stool height. A table-height version is in the pipeline.
Above: Trainspotters also specializes in vintage originals, often from factories, sometimes from urban streets.
Above L: Original Czech Munitions Factory Lights are £320 each. Above R: The Ministry of Defense Light in Scotland is £240. There are around 50 of each of these models in stock, but once gone, they’ll be hard to replace.
Above: The Decorative Bulb Pendant, another Trainspotters adaptation of a vintage design, includes a bakelite bulb holder, Swiss lightbulb, and black metal ceiling rose, plus the cord color of your choice; £45.
Above: The Trainspotters showroom occupies part of an old mill in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Appropriately, Stroud is at the more industrial end of the Cotswolds and the Trainspotters newly remodeled warehouse, in the same building, occupies a space that was adapted in 1766 for wool dyeing. The final stages of the Trainspotters manufacturing process take place in the mill. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.
For more Dunlop lights, see Architecture as Alchemy: A Cobble Hill Transformation. Looking for bold color? Go to Turn on the Brights: The Veronica Valencia Collection from Barn Light Electric. And see Gardenista, for a range of Outdoor Lighting ideas.
Location of Trainspotters in Stroud, Gloucestershire (Stroud is 30 miles north of Bristol, and an hour and a half by train from London via Paddington Station):