ebay Watch #1

Telegraph Poles for sale on eBay

Ebay LogoWhat’s not to love about eBay and the things people flog on there?  This item I discovered during a covert surfing session whilst I was supposed to be working.  I’m still supposed to be at it and if anybody comes I may have to flick back to a spreadsheet or something official looking.  Please bear with me here dear reader…

As listed by ladymuck1(18)

This Item is the TOP 3 metres of an original old telegraph pole which I rescued from a Lincolnshire farmers field a few years back. The field is now part of his farm, but it used to be a local railway siding that served the community, and the nearby bomber air field in the 2nd world war.
The exact age of the item is unknown to me as I am not an expert in such things, but I am sure you all are , so please e-mail me with your questions about all the various markings including where and what to look for,
I have mounted the pole inside a steel tube, welded to a car wheel (see listing) and due to it’s current size ( the bottom part of the pole was rotten) it can be displayed inside or outside.

Deal, Telegraph Pole town

Water Street, Deal, KentTimeball Tower, Deal, KentMartin Tapsell sent us this photograph of a favoured telephone pole in a quiet corner of Water Street in Deal, Kent.  Whilst not bristling with ceramics, like many favourite poles, these Maypole-esque highly strung affairs are always a handsome find in suburbia.  And they are usually popular among the dove and pigeon fraternity too (for some reason).

Deal, of course, is famous for its Timeball tower and is hence synonymous with telegraph poles and the transmission of the Greenwich Time Signal – mostly to passing ships (and Radio 4).  The naval yard at Deal was once at the end of a long chain of telegraph stations stretching all the way from the Admiralty in London.  To celebrate this history, Deal has a street called Telegraph Road.  Perhaps we should think about moving there.

Like Martin tells us in his email, everywhere now, Telecom engineers seem to be busy burying wires, cables and fibre-optics.  So take the chance now to get out there and photograph these poles while they’re still part of our urban street furniture.

Timeball photo courtesy of Dave Patten 

Accolades indeed…

There’s only thing WORSE than being talked about…. and that’s NOT being talked about.

Chatter on football forum, Red Passion

One’s vanity forces one to Google one’s self – approximately every 20 minutes.  The above chatter discovered on Football discussion forum, Red-Passion.

Best ‘non-pornographic’ website – what an accolade!

Skyscraper pole

Scraping clouds off the sky on the slopes of Plunlumon

 Is it a pole? or is it a pylon? 

These massive structures support the weight of all the electricity generated by Cefn Croes Windfarm as it crosses the lower slopes of Pumlumon (eng: Plynlimon) in mid Wales.

On this particular day (9th April) they had absolutely nothing to do as there wasn’t a single breath of wind.  Not even atop the mountain itself at 2,467ft (752m).

Rarely have I been so high and experienced so little wind.  So, in an attempt to alleviate their intense boredom, these biploar poles, near Eisteddfa Gurig farm, took to fishing for clouds.  And I was amazed to see this one catch a gorgeous little cumulus humilis as we passed underneath.  It hung onto it for a short while, only to let it go back into the wild again whereafter the cloud shortly evaporated.


Telegraph Pole Greeting Cards

Telegraph Pole on a greeting card

I first encountered these cards in a shop in Llandeilo,Carmarthenshire,  wherein I promptly brought the lot. 

They are the creation of Jacky Al-Samarraie of www.theartrooms.co.uk who clearly understands the aesthetics of the rural telegraph pole.  My vested interest notwithstanding, these bold cards seem to capture, exquisitely, the essence of our British countryside.  Jacky tells me that of all the cards she has designed, those with telegraph poles are her favourites.  Why wouldn’t they be?  For more cards and even more with telegraph poles on them visit The Art Rooms website.

News just in

Keith S**** Honorary Technical Advisor
Firstly, our Honorary Technical Advisor Keith S**** H.T.A. T.P.A.S. (pictured left, yesterday), has written in answer to Paul’s request for information a good few posts ago.

Have just seen Paul’s heart rending message,he is obviously worried that his poles may fall over. Do not fret my dear chap, properly pressure creosoted poles will last up to 100 years, yes 100 years before they fall down.Trust this alleviates your anxiety.


Keith S.(Honourary Technical Advisor,T.P.A.S)

A Southern Railway Insulator made of ceramic and tinHe’s also written again to correct this website on some potential inaccuracies – well, that’s what Honorary Technical Advisors are for after all. In my Hieroglyphics gallery I make mention of “Heavy” poles.  Apparently, no so thing; they are light, medium or Stout as indicated by the “cutting in (gouging).  Last gouged figures on a pole indicates its year of processing.  “Mind you”, he says,  “the stouts would be pretty heavy”.

Finally, and it was never my intention to collect telegraph pole insulators or indeed photos of them.  But that is what seems to be happening.  And Ray Thorp – ex GPO / Post Office Telephones / British Telecom employee of 42 years sent me some photos of his eclectic potting-shed based collection.  Among his ageing exhibits are an ex-Southern Railway insulator made of pitch-fibre.  And the central one pictured right dates back to the National Telephone Co.  and while porcelain on the inside is made of enamelled tin on the outside – like a camping mug.

Stay tuned listeners… All photos gratefully received – ceramics, pole of the month contenders, bizarre stuff.


A battered telegraph pole on the B5105

A powerful looking electricity distribution pole


It is often pointed out to us that half of the photos we show on this website are, in fact, electricity distribution poles.  But as we say on the front page :

“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”

If you were to stop Joseph and Mary Public in the street, point them at either an electricity DP or an aged GPO pole and ask “What is that?”  99.9% of the time, I am sure, you will hear the answer “A telegraph pole”.  And it is on that premise that this site operates. 

That and the fact that all wire-carrying wooden poles, as far as I am concerned,  have an essence of whimsical poetry all of their own.  There they stand, silent sentinels, forever observing us who scurry about beneath them, oblivious.  I’ll get my coat.


Mission Statement

What sort of body is it that doesn’t have a mission statement?

August and elite a society we may be, but visitors to this site might be confused by our lack of  this vital corporate expression of intent.  Anyway, we couldn’t think up one for ourselves so we trusted in an online Mission Statement Generator at http://www.bit.ly/mstatement.  We want no longer…

 “Our objective is to inspire accountable synergies and transition back-end channels with paradigm shift for the benefit of our stakeholders and other local partnerships”

I think that about covers it.

Polestar Roundabout, Letterkenny

Public art, polestar roundabout, Letterkenny, Eire

The entire administration department of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society recently undertook a sojourn to the Peoples’ Republic of Ireland. 

Our mission was primarily one of pantomime observance, but we never miss an opportunity to gaze in wonder at Johnny Foreigner’s public infrastructure.  And there were many telegraphpolic marvels to behold I can (and will) tell you.  Not least this amazing structure, made entirely out of telegraph poles spotted on  a roundabout in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.


Pleasing to the eye it might be, but as a children’s fairground ride it fails miserably – the little mites just get splinters all over their backsides, and however much you push it, the damn thing just refuses to spin.


Clearly some thinking through required next time.




Sage Advice

It’s amazing the number of enquiries we get about telegraph poles.  The latest being from Caroline Walker from Decentchapsmusic in Nottinghamshire.  She asks :

“We have a TP in the corner of our front garden, under which is the only place where we can park our beloved bandwagon….unfortunately 4000 birds like to perch on top of said TP and go about their daily business which lands directly on the windscreen, bonnet, roof and door.  Is there a large ‘tray’ that can be positioned under our feathered friends, or perhaps an ‘Eagle’ perched on top of the TP to persuade the little twitters to go elsewhere.  Any useful advice would be much appreciated!!”

I have been known to stand on a box in a street corner shouting down an upturned traffic cone in order to dispense my useful advice.  So without further ado…

Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society Membership CertificateStarlings are birds that like to fly in flocks that are exact multiples of 100 which explains why there are precisely 4,000 of them.  If you had said 3,978 or 4,017 then I would have to suggest some other type of bird like ospreys or Ibis or something. 

According to my calculations though, each bird must only be the size of a grain of rice in order for 4,000 of them to perch atop a pole which has a horizontal perching area of only about 100 sq inches.  Unless of course you were looser in your description and the birds were actually spread  out along the wire.  We’ll never know.

Anyway, other than warning you to beware of damage caused by jumpers landing on your passing bandwagon, the answer to your question is a resounding “Yes”!

In anticipation of our sage advice (now duly given) Caroline became the latest member to join our wonderful society and share with us the joy of telegraph poles.  Anyway Caroline, our large membership dept is presently away on telegraph pole related business and will be back to post you out your member pack next Tuesday.  Meanwhile, here is a little picture of a certificate to whet your appetite.

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