And back to Hull again

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.

Enough to make a grown man cry

I‘ve rattled on before about some of the lofty professorial types who frequent these pages – as much as anything to justify to Mrs TPAS that all these lonely hours spent in shed exile are in a worthy cause. And if David Kendrick (#609) had one of those Toblerone-shaped desk boards with all his academic qualifications listed at one character per inch, then he would need a board 7 ft 6 ins wide – and nearly 10 ft long if ’twere to include his name.  So when someone like that writes to you, you sit up.

Dear Martin,
Although many a time and oft’ I see poles that I am inclined to record upon my computing machine, it is rarely I find such a sad sight as this.
Near to Bromyard in the fair county of  Herefordshire, whist walking with a friend yesterday, we came across this sad, sad sight. The stub of a maliciously felled Cobra 1957 pole left languishing, but still firmly and proudly rooted,  in a field. I wonder if fellow members would wish to see this and to keep their eyes peeled for similar wanton destruction.
I remain, fraternally yours,

That is indeed a sad sight David, and whilst I’m glad you brought it to our attention, I’m afraid I can offer you little by way of comfort. To those who don’t appreciate poles as we do (yes, they do exist) this is just a wooden sticky up thing that was probably getting in the way. You have to look at it like you would when you find a recently squashed hedgehog, sad, but it’s probably best to just put it out of your mind, go home and have a nice cup of tea in a Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society Mug (£8.99 inc p&p).

A Cobra 1957 placard on a telegraph poleA cut down pole with an arhaeologist crying over it
A multi-armed telegraph pole seen in Lincoln

Back at the beginning of 2011, you may remember I rescued some telegraph pole bits from a work-gang of telegraph pole executioners along the B5105 in North Wales. Well one of their gang, Ged McCarthy, remembered us, and via the wonders of the modern facebook age he sent us a pic of an amazing pole he saw in Lincoln. Well here it is. And much appreciated it is too. Ged is quite amazing insomuch as he writes in a broad Liverpool accent.

Now, as it’s Christmas and I find myself with some time, I have been perusing the wonderful Flickr photo streams for telegraph pole photos.  I never pinch any, I just appreciate them. And believe me, some people on there really get telegraph poles. See for yourself by clicking here.

Finally, if your name is Robin Hughes and you’re from Kent then you’re probably wondering when the hell I’m going to publish the fantastic photos of some ancient Tunbridge poles you sent. All I can say is sorry. I forget lots of things (these days) but I haven’t forgotten those.  Same goes for anyone who sends me stuff to publish – I do get them all up eventually.

Have a wonderful Telegraph Pole Appreciating Christmas everyone.

R.S.P.C.T.P. (Nottingham branch)

Not for nothing is Nottinghamshire lady, Claire Pendrous, an Honorary member of our esteemed and august society.  For Claire is a telegraph pole rescue lady.  Telegraph poles don’t get left in a box on her doorstep very often with a note saying “please look after me”.  No, Claire is more pro-active than that.  She trawls the local undergrowth and pole contractors yards for various parts, then puts them together into meaningful objets d’art for her garden.  In her words…

The poles don’t stop in the yard for very long though, as a Derbyshire company collects them for mulching into bio-fuel! I hadn’t visited this yard for a few months, so lord knows what has gone through the place? Many of the dumped poles have come from rural locations; the last great bastion of the old GPO system. From what I could see, the majority were from the early to mid 1950s, although an example from the late 1940s was seen amongst the pile.
I was after a pole-top twin saddle bracket, and came away with a twin and a single variant, as well as a cottage-roof style steel pole-top cover. The pole top cover and the twin saddle bracket will be affixed to my 3 x cross-arm pole top display. Not enough to excite the average person in the street, I know, but it floats my boat. 🙂

Anyway, here are is a selection of photos that Claire sent us recently.  These include :  One of her finialed highly screw-topped garden creations, a sillhoutted pigeon atop a pole at Aston on Trent, and numerous of her collectings from the undergrowth.

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Catastrophe on the A382



Good friend, honourary member of this society (#0466) and professional Telegraphpoleologist, Andrew Rowsell sent us this picture with the recommendation that we should “have a butchers at it”.  The pole, he tells us, was originally hit by a vehicle with the 20pr cable being all that is keeping the remains in the air.  Apart from the police advertising their tardy arrival to this Dartmoor based incident, we also can’t help but wonder what the hell is a Stannary town?  Anyway, this photo puts me in mind of one I saw in the middle of Ireland a couple of years ago.

With apologies to Andrew for the slow inclusion of his picture on the website, and apologies too to everyone else who has written in the last six months or so.  I will get around to them all sooner or later I promise.  And I do have a list of excuses to hand, my main one being that my wife and I are living in a pile of rubble with only 3 exterior walls and half a roof.  “Renovation project” the estate agent called it stiflilng sniggers as he handed us the keys. 


Falling Down Poles

Firstly, please let me apologise for the paucity of posts to this site of late.  If you could see the pile of rubble which presently forms my abode you would understand.  Completely.  The same delay also applies to email replies, letters, photo posts and my income tax payment.

Anyway, by way of catching up a little, herewith a triptych of busted poles sent to us by telegraph pole task force of Graham Davis (#0513) and his sidekick, Dave (#0516) aboard their BT Battle Bus.

A broken electric pole

Busted Pole

The same busted pole

The first one is an electric pole to which they were called out in error, but which the police asked them to support until the electric company arrived. The second is one that had been hit by a car, ably supported by an acro left by a passer by – presumably they had one in their boot. And when I looked for the caption for the third picture I realised it was the same as the second one from a different angle. So there you go.

All this brings me on to this week’s reader request spot.  We’ve had an email from a lawyer from a large international practice. With the following;

Dear Sirs

I represent a young man who was struck on the head recently by a falling BT telegraph pole, sustaining a severe head injury.

Are you able to recommend any experts who could comment on the decay to the pole, what caused it, how long it had been there, and whether BT’s system of inspection was reaonable. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Kind regards


Perry cleverly got straight to the point – aware perhaps that at the first sniff of anything legal I hit the delete key so hard I would normally require a replacement keyboard.  Anyway, I am aware that many readers of this website fit the requested criteria, and if you can help in this matter, please do get in touch so that I can pass your details on.  It might, however, be completely incongruous with your long service medal if you already work for BT though. Or even having a job this time next week.

D class citizen

Woodpecker damage Woodpecker damage to a telegraph pole When a telegraph pole is in a flush of youth, I don’t imagine a woodpecker would give it a second glance.  Tarry, smelly and quite untree-like.  But once they’ve aged a bit and the decades of torrential British summer has washed away the creosote, they start to become fair game.  So what if the branches are a bit thin, and there’s no leaves to speak of? It’s tall, perpendicular, and is made of wood – ergo it must be a tree.

John Brunsden (#0469) sent us these photos recently :

Thought your readers might like to see what one of the telegraph poles biggest enemies (aka Woody Woodpecker) can do to condemn a pole to “D” status…

…you can see the coach bolts that hold the steps on are clearly visible

(sorry about the quality of pics – taken on a basic nokia works phone !)

Knowing what havoc finding hidden metalwork causes to my chainsaw; hitting that iron coach-bolt must surely have tested Woody’s resolve. The pole is near Langport in Somerset, and John tells me that the woodpecker usually comes back and makes holes in the new poles too.

Anyway, please don’t apologise for the quality of pics – they’re always gratefully received here at TPAS Towers.  Please email photographic contributions to


Lying down on the job

A dead telegraph pole in Cornwall

Veteran correspondent on matters telegraph-polique, Andy Rowsell, recently sent us this picture of a dead pole.  This one was in a ploughed field at Tregony in Cornwall. 

Andy, you see, has the good fortune to work for those nice people at BT  whereby he often happens upon such disaster-befallen poles. Thereupon he issues orders as to its repair/replacement/removal – but not before he’s got his trusty phone out and snapped a picture for the good and enlightened people who subscribe to these pages. 

If there was a New Years Honours list for services to Telegraph Poles, I think he would probably be Andy Rowsell CBE by now. If he isn’t already of course.


Pole Smash

A smashed telegraph pole near Bridgewater in Somerset

My first thought when the email containing this photo landed on my metaphorical doormat was… Why has somebody sent me a photo of my daughter’s bedroom?  And why does she have a lorry in there?  I’m going to have to have a word with that girl!  Then I read the accompanying text.  Telegraph Pole erector, fixer and photographer #0469 John Brunsden had been called to this unfortunate incident near Bridgewater in Somerset. Relieved that he only had to renew the pole and not tidy up beforehand.  Then not tidying up  seems to be my daughter’s attitude too – so long as the door will still open, what’s the problem?

Anyway, I can probably hear John Brunsden thinking “Blimey, that T.P.A.S lot are slow – I sent them that photo yonks ago!”.  Well, we move in geological timescales here at TPAS HQ, and are of the opinion that everything comes to he (or she) who waits. Except perhaps getting the hoover into H’s bedroom!

Treasure Trove

O ur Saddleworth correspondent, Stuart X, has been back to the undergrowth and has sent us these pictures from the Delph Donkey line.  A real find for ye olde worlde telegraph pole afficionados such as myself, and I suspect a fair few of our dear readers too.  I must assure him that although the woodwork looks like it would crumble like a wet weetabix if he was so much as to touch it – it’s amazingly resistant stuff and the kerruing heart wood should clean up nicely.  Just like Edward Woodward’s wood would if he had any!

A pile of dead telegraph poles from the undergrowth in Delph A lichen covered insulator from the Delph undergrowth

W e also now have an update on our Question 3 from Asela Premachandra 5 posts ago… Apparently, things have moved on and over a weekend, someone mysteriously removed the troublesome rediffusion pole and disconnected the cabling which was trailed across everyones’ gardens.  So a big special thank you to all the wood and copper thieves down there for clearing that one up.

Send for Inspector Morse

A dead telegraph pole A dead telegraph pole


O n the morning in question, the witness, Stuart X, was proceeding in a southerly direction along the old Delph Donkey Railway Line in the direction of Dobcross. 

Whilst investigating the undergrowth – for reasons best known to himself, Stuart X discovered the dismembered torso of an LNWR telegraph pole.  The crossarm supports of which were in a rusted condition with the remaining two of its original complement of four insulators suffering severely broken ceramics.  Evidence also exists of a steel ligament to at least one of the supporting pegs. A severed head in Mid Wales

Further investigation by Mr X revealed more deceased telegraph pole torsos.  Their time of demise all believed to have been at some time after the railway’s final closure to freight traffic which was around 19:63.

The remains were subsequently removed to a garage in Uppermill where they are likely to undergo an intensive restoration process towards becoming an item of whimsical garden furniture.

Meanwhile, in mid-Wales, the severed head of a GPO pole was discovered in a farmyard near Llanfair Caereinion.  Police are not investigating.

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