B eing given the gift of membership to our most august society can be so life-enhancing. This was the case for John Cranston (#0620) from Norfolk. The photos that accompany this post are his and his own words, which follow, succinctly tell his story…
Dear Number One,
I was going to send you some old shots of Mull*1, but they can wait because today, in my very first outing as an ambassador for the TPAS (ooh, I’m so excited) I came across this beauty (though sadly without the cross arms I assume it used to have) in Wells-next-the-Sea in Norfolk.
“Can I help you?” asked a bloke in a bobble hat who was looking at me looking at the pole. “I’m a BT engineer.”
“Actually, I’m a member of the Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society. I’m looking for the date.”
“They don’t have dates,” says BT man.
“I think you’ll find they do,” I replied in my best anorak, train-spotter tone.
And there was one. It was round the back. And it seems to be from the National Telephone Company, 1909.
(But this is the odd thing: there was no record of a telephone service in Wells till about 1914. And the National Telephone Company never reached anywhere near that part of Norfolk. Perhaps the GPO simply inherited it from the NTC’s stores when it took over in 1912?)
And I love the old label still attached to the front. It must be original. It looks and feels like lead.
In case anyone’s ever arranging a Stunning Telegraph Poles of the Norfolk Coast Sightseeing Tour, it’s in The Buttlands in Wells, next to the Crown Hotel. Click the link for the Google Street view:
Lots of love,
A few things I like about this letter: Being addressed as “Number One” for a start – I could get used to that – though this amply describes my membership number within TPAS, my actual number, because I am not a free man at all is 76,735,969,742. Please see sister website www.hiraethog.com for confirmation of this.
Secondly, he went out on our behalf to the wider community and performed admirably his telegraph pole appreciation duties, unstintingly and reported back here.
Thirdly, he finished his letter with some love. And there’s just not enough of that stuff going around.
*1 We have his shots from Mull btw – what a treat.