Treasure Trove in ‘Ull

Regulars to these pages will, by now, know that Aaron Bailey (who has dropped the H from Hull*) is a regular rummager along deceased and non-deceased railway lines for telegraphular artefacts.  Indeed, he has a Pole of the Month (May 2018) to his credit.  There follows the photos from his latest jaunt - one in which his particular interest was poles that are attached to the side of railway bridges,

The round pole is on the side of a Hull and Barnsley railway bridge. He confesses to taking this photo from the queue at a drive through McDonalds (for goodness' sake)
The square pole is on the side of a viaduct on the Settle and Carlisle Railway whereupon he also found some insulators incl the LMS fatty you see here.
I really do envy urban dwellers this access to railway heritage.  I live so far from civilization that even the roads have petered out long before they get here. Denizens of these rural depths have been known to cross themselves whenever they see an aeroplane pass overhead and gasp excitedly when someone switches on one of these new electric light things.  Still, we keep being reminded that the 19th century is just around the corner.

* Must be a dialect thing

Telegraph Poles in art #17

An Acadian Flycatcher (by William H. Majoros)
Mrs Clarkson, yesterday.

TPAS Agent #0893, Nick Clarkson, had his eye on this particular piece for some time. Waiting on just that moment when the furniture shop twigged this wasn't the next big-seller they'd imagined and dropped the price sufficiently for the tight-of-fist.

As the new owner of this spectacular all-metal "installation" measuring 82 x 46 cm Nick tells us how its presence on his living room wall gives him so much pleasure, whilst at the same time having a bizzare effect on his missus - insomuch as she has taken to dressing as an Acadian Flycatcher and runs around the lawn. I'll leave those who know Agent #0893 to ask for clarification on that one.

Nick was concerned that he may have over-egged it when he first wrote to describe this thing that hangs upon his wall. No need to worry there old chap. Telegraph pole related objects, particularly d'art, can never be over-egged in my opinion.

An all-metal wall art featuring birds on a telegraph wires with a pole.

Most dropwires of the month competition…

A telegraph pole with 40 dropwires at Norden, RochdaleIs officially opened by esteemed society Honorary Technical Adviser Sir Keith S***** H.T.A. T.P.A.S.

“I noticed this pole in Norden near to my home in Rochdale. I think from experience it is probably an 11 metre medium pole, cannot be sure as unusually it has no cutting in, perhaps cutting in was abandoned. It used to be quite an art to etch a pole’s length and class clearly cleanly and quickly with a curved chisel.It drew my attention because of the unusually large number of cables connected to it, there are in fact forty! the most I have ever seen in my many years of pole observation.

I hope you will find this of interest. I had to fill my pensioner phone with boiling water so it would boil quickly and enable me to capture this image while the sky was blue.

Yours etc.”

Way too grainy a photo to be considered for pole of the month – but 40 drop wires?  Bring on the challengers.  I’ve even started a new post category for this.

Pole of the Month – March 2019

What’s this – Pole of the month two months in succession? We are grateful, not to mention gladdened, always, to receive missives from the East Dorset Branch of T.P.A.S. and this time even more so as they have provided us with this splendiferous p.o.t.m. I shall leave you in the delightful company of East Dorset Chair, Willie Montgomery Stack for the rest of this post to describe this serendipitous chance-upon.

“Esteemed Sir,

Can a post be a pole? And might this one be the last surviving example of its type? 

During the Spring half term outing of the TPAS East Dorset branch last week, our members stumbled across a truly remarkable edifice which we would like to bring to your attention. Approaching a road junction a stone’s throw from Coverham Abbey in North Yorkshire, our members glimpsed with delight a proud array of cross arms and insulators. Naturally we all leapt from the tour bus to take a closer look but it was several seconds before we realised that, while it meets the TPAS’s strict criteria of being wooden and sticky-uppy, the thing is distinctly unpole-like in one respect. Rather than being rounded (part of the Oxford English Dictionary definition of a pole), it is SQUARE in section, resembling a railway signal post rather than a telegraph pole. It is a distribution pole (DP 2) for the tiny Coverdale telephone exchange and was clearly stuck there by the GPO, although no further identifying marks can be seen upon it. 

Our excitement knew no bounds at its discovery. Mrs Pringle was heard to remark that she’d never been so grateful for Tena Lady. And we are all agreed we haven’t seen anything like it anywhere else. 

Have any other members ever chanced upon such a thing, and might you be willing to consider it as a candidate for Pole of the Month, if not the decade?

Faithfully yours,
Willie Montgomery Stack”

Telegraph Poles as Navigation Aids

Well, I’ve been banging on about this for years. Fact or fiction, that telegraph poles are aligned to have their insulators face towards London. There was evening a major film with Stoddart E. Schmelhausen in the title role of The Pole Liner you may recall. But really, always, without some real documentary evidence.

Until NOW that is. Thanks to the magic that is telegraph pole enthusiast Rick Howell. He tells us he was reading The Light Car Manual – published in 1914 when he came upon the nugget you see below.
We have feebly covered the topic on here before <here> and <here> and also within the weighty, sage tome Telegraph Pole Appreciation for Beginners which we absolutely insist you buy <here> because it is only £5.99 after all, and if you root around on this website you’ll find a further 10% discount code called IAMSKINT to use at the checkout. Thanks Rick for this epic find.

Pole of the Month – February 2019

The prestigious award of Pole of the Month is probably, by now, posthumous (for this pole).
Man of few words and pole contractor Graham Morgan sent us this photo of this eight-armed beauty he was sent to recover from the railway yard at Ashford, Kent. He says he doesn’t know what to do with it. He could always put a stamp on it and post it to me.
Alas, one of the few remaining 8-armers is no more.  We should consider changing our name to Telegraph Pole Preservation Society.

A telegraph pole with 8 cross arms about to be removed from Ashford railway yard in Kent.

Oban wan Kenobi*

If we had an annual awards ceremony (we don’t) and were to dish out prizes (we don’t) for telegraphic excellence then this wonderful example of post-retirement appropriation would undoubtedly win our prestigious Golden Pole Award (it didn’t, there’s no such thing).

Kenny McLennan, presumably from Oban, noticed contractors replacing his local (GPO 1940) DP1 and so he retrieved it (read purloined) and modified it as bird feeder for his rockery.  This is just fantastic Kenny.  We at TPAS HQ are inspired.  And the Tom Tits of Oban won’t know they’re born. Mind you that little scamp of a white doggie on the right there looks like he’s just left you something in your plant pot.

*Oban wan Kenobi.  I really thought that by the time I clicked the Publish button on this I would have come up with a witty headline.  As you can see I failed.

A former telegraph pole now rerouted as a bird feeder.
This year I will be passing through Oban twice.  #1 mid April, via the ferry terminal and heading for Barra, then north to Stornoway for my 3 week long expedition checking out poles of the Outer Hebrides (watch this space)  then #2 the Glenforsa Fly-in on on Mull, 24th & 25th May.  Refuelling at Oban probably.  If we make it that far that is, in a 1962 vintage Rallye Cub.  I’m telling you all this to give you all time to organise street parties and bunting and stuff.

Telegraph Pole Restoration II

No prizes for guessing what Prof of Telegraphpoleology Jake Rideout is going to do with these bits and pieces recovered from his local salvage yard (Frome presumably).  I’m told this will be a freestanding garden folly sort of affair and we are promised photos of the progress and finished product.  Watch this space.  And if you’re up for a bit of Friday evening, just before the Archers, telegraph pole porn, you could do worse than check out Jake’s Youtube channel.

Two wooden crossarms and a collection of telegraph pole crossarms parts awaiting restoration A collection of telegraph pole crossarms parts awaiting restoration

Visual Treats

Yes, Visual Treats - that was the subject of an email that landed on our metaphorical doormat recently.  Rick Howell from Exeter tells us that he has long been interested in those marvellous bits of British engineering - Cornish beam engines, gasworks, scraps of railway metallica, Austin Allegro.  And he says there's a small but subversive cell among his circle of friends who are interested in telegraph poles - or actually, anything that harks back to a time when we did things properly in this country.  He writes:

" ...having spotted a couple of TPs with insulators in my area of Devon still in use - kind of - I thought I'd check out whether a website existed for the delectation of those people who admire these things. And there is! So, since I have taken one or two pics pics of some examples I've have attached same. They're in a sort of order so here goes:

1, 2, 3. This is on the mine footpath that leads from the Warren House inn on Dartmoor to Vitifer Mine; probably last worked in the early part of the 20th century. OS 191.680809 if you like that sort of thing.

4, 5. A road that has been truncated by the '70s-built A361 North Devon link road at Knowstone Inner Moor. The road once connected Knowstone to Rackenford and since abandonment the poles have been left, wires attached to insulators. The poles are on a very exposed site and some are leaning with the prevailing wind. The bike is a Matchless G80 500 from 1948. OS 181.836218

6, 7, 8, 9. Shillingford Abbot, just outside Exeter; 2 poles connected to each other. A new run of poles heads uphill towards Exeter; the b&w picture was taken in about 1965 at the top of the hill looking the other way towards Haldon with it's Belvedere in the background and shows the original pole line. The sound of the recent gales through the wires really prodded my memory of those wires across the hilly Devon lanes. It may be that the pole in pic 6 and 9 was once on the other side of the road with it's strainer but sad to say that (I think?) 2 lads were killed in the late '60s when their Hillman Imp failed to take the corner at the bottom of the hill and hit the pole. OS192.911890"

Rick's final question is "Am I taking this too seriously?"  Nope.

Pointy Poles in Porthmadog

A rubber stamp used for levels of appreciation of telegraph polesOoh!  Bit of a dilemma here.  You see, our TPAS motto is "If it's tall, wooden, sticky-uppy and got wires all coming out the top then it gets appreciated".  But then have a look at these fine finialed METAL beauties spotted recently in Porthmadog.  As you can see from my appreciation stamp I just had to tick the two boxes.  A sort of Schrödinger's appreciation - a superposition of appreciation and non-appreciation.

The final photo in the set - a close up of the background shows Cnicht, aka The Welsh Matterhorn.  A gorgeous climb where you can stand at the top with a magnificent view and look over and laugh at the queues for the trig-point on neighbouring Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa to us).

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