Official Secrets Act

Compliance with The Official Secrets Act meant that we’ve always had to obscure the name of our society’s Honorary Technical Adviser – Keith S**** was as much as we’ve ever been allowed to divulge and we could only ever show his photograph in sillhouette form. Until now that is.

Thanks to the thirty year rule various documents have recently been declassified so that we can, finally, reveal a bit more about the rank-holder H.T.A.T.P.A.S.

For starters, it turns out we’ve been using his real name all along – Keith S**** is actually what he’s called. Though I’m not quite sure how he pronounces it.

That same set of documents has uncovered the photo below from the mid 70s of a dashing, debonair Keith S**** inspecting a batch of fresh poles from Finland (pinus sylvestris) – ‘open stacked’ for seasoning.

The photo was taken at Blyth Pole Depot, Northumberland and for his role as pole inspector, Keith had to undertake an intensive language course to learn “Pitmatic” – the Geordie language of the coal mines. Many of the yard-workers, who provided assistance to Keith were ex-miners and their gutteral dialect was entirely unintelligble to to the rest of mankind – as well as to themselves.

In Pitmatic ‘cuddies and bogies’ were horse and carts, spuggies were sparrows, and aeroplanes were said to be ‘up a depth’. Apparently there is even a Geordie translation of the King James Bible which tells of the parting of the waters so the people of Israel could cross the sea in their ‘cuddies and bogies’.

Keith S**** learned Pitmatic like a native and still speaks it to this day in his native Rochdale – much to the confusion of his neighbours.

On Her Majesty’s Service

We have no idea where he’s been.  Presumably On Her Majesty’s Service somewhere, or at her pleasure maybe.  He is the man with no name – he who moves within the shadows – our very own top secret Honorary Technical Advisor.  All we know is that he’s Keith, and he’s back. 

My wife was beside herself with joy when the telegram arrived late last night.  The bespectacled post office telegram boy was rather startled at her reaction and seems to have forgottten his hat!

Telegram from Keith S**** Honorary Technical Advisor to this Society

Anyway, now that we are back at full sagacious strength here at the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society, it’s time to post up a few of the questions from a curious public that have landed on my desk in the last few weeks.

 Q1. From Pete Goodes…

Spacing Distance along Main line  During  1950`s
Can anybody advise me on the above.
Thank you.

Q2.  From Hugh Burrows…

Does anyone happen to know if the National Telephone Company used step or foot irons on their wooden poles, and if so, what form did they take? I am investigating the history of Kendal’s Telephone Network pre automation, and have found something interesting in a building which I understand was the site of the first Telephone Exchange, Office and Store back in 1895.

Any assistance would be much appreciated.

Q3.  From Asela Premachandra…

I have a Rediffusion Telegraph pole in my back garden which has blown down in the recent high winds. I have tried to find out who is responsible for the pole now that Rediffusion has gone out of business but am failing miserably. Can you point me in the right direction? Any help gratefully received.

If you can offer any help, information, or answers to any of the above, then do please send us an email to

Thank you.