These much ignored pieces of rural and urban furniture finally have a website of their own.

telegraph pole appreciation society logoThis is not the site to visit for technical information pertaining to telegraph poles. You'll find nothing about 10KVa transformers, digital telephone networking or even so much as a single volt. This is a website celebrating the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over. We don't care what the wires contain either. They all carry electricity in some way be it the sparky stuff which boils your kettle, or the thinner stuff with your voice in it when you're on the phone.


We’re open again.

Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society is open again

Oo-er this all looks a bit new doesn’t it? Different colours, different layout, different something else but ultimately the same old nonsense being spouted and that’s what’s important.

We’ve also got a shop now. Why not pop along and browse our endless aisle of TPAS merchandise and continuously click the buttons therein until you run out of cash. We will love you all the more for it.

Haven’t got around to fixing some of the old galleries yet, and some of the olde links may still be dead but they’ll be tidied up in due course.

And if anyone has any hassle with the shop thingy, do let us know – it’s all smoke and mirrors to us anyway but we’ll stab a few buttons here and there and see if we can make something happen.

Finally… The telegraphic excitement we’ve been teasing you about is getting very close now.

Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day 2017

posted in: Appreciating | 0

SEPT 21st. Society Member #666, Dave Bennett writes: “I thought you’d like to see that we devotees of The Cause in Wiltshire, are celebrating TPAS DAY at Pole-Henge just up the road from me. This was the scene at first light this morning with folk already assembling for the Big Sunrise when thousands are expected. There is more security this year but it was established that the minor crowd trouble last year was entirely due to a few hotheads from the Pylon Appreciation Society – metal morons !
Anyway, Congratulations to our founders and best wishes to all on this our most auspicious of days !!”

HAPPY TELEGRAPH POLE APPRECIATION DAY.

A cartoon of polehenge - a henge made out of telegraph poles
The scene at sunrise, Polehenge on Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day. Thanks to Dave Bennett for the pic.

Edwardian poles in Berkshire

posted in: Vintage | 0

Great news from Berkshire this week – the RG5 postcode to be moderately specific. RG5 6LN to be more specific and the naugahyde chair by the writing desk in the corner of the front bedroom at No. 67 Kensall Rise, RG5 6LN would be about as specific as anyone could ever ask for and likely more than our readers need. But I made up the bit of the postcode after RG5 anyway – so Reading-ish. My dad always said to me “Son, when you’re in a hole – keep digging.”John Smith* from RG5 couldn’t tell us about this great news though until after his good wife Jane had woken from her nap. To cut a short story really long it seems they found a run of 1904 poles and sent us the pictures you see below. They can be found at Turville, near the Cobstone windmill. The poles, not John & Jane – see sentence #1.

Now, 1904 seems to be something of a lower limit for dated telegraph poles. It is NOT absolute though – see footnote. The telegraph as a system of communication would have been at its height in 1904 and whilst amplitude modulation for voice and music were demonstrated in 1900, radio was a long way from obviating the need for the telegraph – and its poles. 1904 was the heady Edwardian era and a time when the world was having to come to terms with the idea of Doncaster Rovers failure to be re-elected to the football league. This was also the year that the United States of America paid Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, $14 million for the entire territory that is New Mexico. It was only when they got home and checked that they discovered that they already owned it.

Footnote #1: I have it on good authority that these are NOT the oldest poles out there. More on this in due course. Meanwhile, enjoy John & Jane’s fine Berkshire telegraph poles – they’re in Buckinghamshire it turns out after all. (click to enlarge)

Footnote #2: I had a really funny joke for this post but my wife made me take it out. So just imagine something really funny and laugh along anyway if you want.

Footnote #3:  Names changed to protect the innocent (until proven guilty)

5970d73b385be IMG 0991 a 1904 pole at Turville, Bucks.

Either the start of the walk or one of the poles. And one of the poles – serving suggestion, finger not included.

5970d73b385be IMG 0991 a 1904 pole at Turville, Bucks.

Look carefully – double D plates. Fear the worst for this one. And again, helpful pointer to the 1904 date.

Long time, no hear

posted in: Vintage | 0

Campbell Brodie knows a bit about poles.  Former GPO to Overhead Survey Officer for BT up there in Dunfermline Athletic Nil.  According to my pre-school arithmetic levels I make that 41 years looking at telegraph poles.  We owe much of our telegraphular wisdom at this here website to Campbell for sure.  Anyway, he has written in for the first time in a while – prompting me to make the first post in a while…  He was recently sent to do a survey to recover 3 telephone poles and says “These beauties have been up since 1910. Showing signs of decay now so they have to come down”.  [click to enlarge]Any advance on 1910?

campbell2campbell2campbell2

A Pole for May Day

posted in: Telegraph Poles | 0

Our astute readers will have noticed that we have been rather quiet recently. The reason for this can now be made clear – The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society has upped-sticks and moved headquarters. All departments, stock, staff, stuff and our entire appreciating apparatus. Prior to this we were housed in a tranquil backwater in Mid Wales but this proved a little too boisterous for our tender hearts so we went Wester and even Midder into Wales. This valley is so deep that the sun appears only briefly around 17th June, before sinking us back into darkness again come the 25th. But the internet here is a revelation – where previously we had to type stuff in ourselves – I now phone a friend in Aberystwyth and dictate what we want to say and he does the internet thing for us. Marvellous!

May 1st means there’s only about 7 weeks until our “sunrise” celebrations. But to help you celebrate May Day – where the rest of you have trees and flowers and that – here is a lovely May Pole submitted by our tub-thumping, rust gathering morris-dancing Wiltshire correspondent Dave Bennett. Coincidentally, Dave has the membership number #666 – which is that of the Prince of Darkness himself, so it is apt we post this now. The pole was spotted in North St. Wilton, Wiltshire and brought Dave back – a really long way back – to his school’s pagan festivals and fertility dances. (We just had Geography and a school disco). Dave then went on to describe suffocating bondage, slow garrotting and incadescent screaming by Mrs Salter – and this, apparently, was all at the village school. Does the Daily Mail know what goes on in Wiltshire?

Happy May Day to All.

A telegraph pole resembling a May Pole

Poetry, poles, a prize-winning poem

posted in: Art | 0

When Current Archaeology magazine published an article about our sagiest of societies back in 2015 poet Margaret Seymour found true inspiration. Her poem, reproduced here by kind permission, won first prize at the Sheringham poetry competition. So thanks to our ramblings, a myriad insulators, and the intrinsic beauty that is telegraph poles, these 152 words were selected out of all the thousands that are available and were assembled into the beautiful and unique, prize-lifting order that you see below. Congratulations and special thanks to Margaret. I’ve illustrated the whole occasion with a photo of a line of poles in Donegal. And some gorse. And Slieve Snaght in the background.

Distance Writing

The telegraphpoleappreciationsocietydotorg
knows poetry when it sees it – the epic
march of metre, neat crossbar rhyme-schemes
embellished with ceramic references
to fungi, daleks, Chinese lanterns;
long lilting lines punctuated by swallows.

It’s fond of folklore such as crossbars
are always on the side facing London.
It loves the drama of the telegram,
whistle and crackle of the human voice.
urgent pitter-pat of Morse,
the arcane doings of Openreach.

Its totems are the trunks of trees –
wayside gods inscribed with tribal marks
BT or GPO, plus date of last libation
of creosote. She of the high and shaky
brackets orders DO NOT CLIMB.
He of the yellow skull warns DANGER OF DEATH.

Happy the members of TPAS! For them
a road or railway is a procession
of curiosities, a document, a refuge
where ivy flourishes and kestrels perch,
a photographic pilgrimage where finally
lines of posts are enshrined as posts online.
Margaret Seymour

A line of poles in Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Pole of the Month – February 2017

posted in: Pole of the Month | 0

Where’s this pole been all my life?; Tom Grimes – whose address at any one time can best be written as “A Canal, Somewhere, UK” – submitted this latest Pole of the Month. Tom chugs his way around the waterways of Britain pausing only to read The Telegraph Pole” by W.H. Brent, B.Sc. (Hons.) A.M.I.E.E.

This iconic bridge/pole hybrid can be found where the A519 crosses the Shropshire Union Canal near Norbury, Staffs. High Bridge No. 39, aka Telegraph Bridge carries probably one of the most photographed poles in the country – at least by canal boatsfolk.

With this bridge and incorporated pole having been declared a listed building by Historic England it ought to be preserved as a museum piece for all time. Here’s what the Listing document has to say about it:

High Bridge (Bridge No. 39) was erected between 1832 and 1833 to carry the road from Newcastle-under-Lyme to Newport. Shortly after its construction, however, the pressure being exerted onto the bridge from the cutting walls required the insertion of a strainer arch. In 1861 the United Kingdom Electric Telegraph Company installed telegraph cables along the entire length of the canal and the strainer arch was subsequently used for the siting of a telegraph pole. The telegraph wires were replaced with telephone wires in 1870…

First 2 pics courtesy of ye olde Sea Dog Tom Grimes (presume that’s him and that’s his vessel) Close up (c) Peter Evans, off Geograph.org.uk

Bridge 39 over the Shropshire Union Canal has a telegraph pole incorporated between arches.Bridge 39 over the Shropshire Union Canal has a telegraph pole incorporated between arches.
Close up of the integral 5 armed telegraph pole in Bridge 39

And back to Hull again

posted in: Broken Poles | 0

stop stoppress

Aaron, from Hull, two post ago, tells us he feels privileged to be on our website.  And that strangely, other than the pole recognition previously discussed he received no interest from his eBay listing.  This in its way is a good thing because now he has made this wonderful hanging basket hanger thingy for the remaining and significant 51% of his household.  In the finest traditions of Blue Peter – here’s what he did: 
(1)  Removed the bottom 2 cross-arms.
(2) Jet washed all the moss off.
(3) Attached a GR “no throwing stones” sign.
(4) Carefully banked the brownie points gained for future use.

A telegraph pole used as basket hangar in back garden in Hull.A telegraph pole used as basket hangar in back garden in Hull.

Most somethingest poles revisited

posted in: Telegraph Poles | 0

Arguably the world's shortest telegraph pole.We have recently received two submissions to our various and eternal “most-somethingy telegraph pole” competitions.  First up is Paul Kirkup’s (#0654) stab at our popular shortest telegraph pole section.  Now, I have a fair album of poles used as sheep fencing posts, and I’ve seen a good number of gardenly ornaments comprising short telegraph poles.  But this one actually seems to be a genuine short pole photographed out in the wild.  It’s got the little hat on it, and the black connection box thingy whose name escapes me for always – and it’s also not actually part of the fence it’s in front of.  So thanks Paul, a definite contender.  Paul, by the way, having the words “london” and “midland” in his email address we presume is something of a railway fan.

World's most southerly telegraph poleNext up is Geoff Bovingdon’s entry for our newly created “Most Southerly” telegraph pole competition.  So new is this competition that being the only entrant so far, Geoff’s chances of winning any prizes off us are still close to zero.  This rather low-resolution photo is an olde power pole in the grounds of a redundant gold mine in Central Otago in New Zealand.  Geoff is also a contender for the longest ever wait between sending us a photo and it actually appearing on here. 

Thanks for for your entries folks.

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