I recently attended an evening hosted by the Dull Men’s Club which turned out to be anything but dull. Our host for this conviviality was the wryly enthusiastic assistant vice-president of D.M.C. Grover Click – who doubles as founder of the Park Bench Appreciation Society. Wine, beer and cashew nuts were consumed as we heard talks and presentations from luminaries of the world of esoterics. One of whom was Richard Gottfried, who together with his wife Emily are Crazy Golf champions (possibly) of the World. And they are on a mission to locate, play and document every crazy golf course on the planet – to date, more than 700 courses and counting. Now, I’ve sat through scores of presentations over the years but rarely so engaging and educating as this.
Anyway, on a search of crazy golf courses in Cumbria, and in particular around Barrow in Furness, Richard stopped off at the Hatherthwaite & Lakeside heritage steam railway – as you do – where he spotted this fine pole across the platform at Hatherthwaite station. “Is it of interest to you?” he asks. As If !
One final synchronistic fact. Turns out 21st September is not only Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day, but it is also Miniature Golf Day too. Would you Adam & Eve?
Minigolf consultancy: http://gottfriedmarketing.co.uk/minigolf-consultancy
Well this unBritish weather has me all confused. Too hot to be outside, way too nice to be inside. So I’ve had to get all clever about it and so have been sitting in my office all day watching a webcam which I’ve pointed at my missus getting meithered by the midges in the garden. And if I get close enough to the screen I’m sure I must be getting one of my 5-a-day of vitamin D.
But if you’re not actually enjoying this fine summer weather then you are either a chocolate digestive or a polar bear turned left at Svalbard instead of right.
Anyway, not quite summer, but 10th September 1988, Chalmington, Dorset actually – but this completely fabulous photo gave me a rush of late summer. I can’t actually think of any boxes that this picture doesn’t tick. With more than a shade of Eric Ravilious about it, Chris Atkins says it is still one of his favourites and that it gives him a great sense of peace whenever he looks at it. Plus it was chosen by the National Trust as one of 5 best views of this country to go in their magazine. Thanks for sharing it to this particularly appreciative audience Chris.
MY LIFE IS NOW COMPLETE… Here, for your telegraphic delectation, the ultimate in home automata – a robot telegraph pole. Kindly brought into existence by London-based, Gloucestershire-born, artist Simon Handy www.simonhandy.com (and footage from Lottie O’Leary’s mobile phone).
Simon, we salute you.
Esteemed member #0654 is Paul Kirkup. He knows a thing or two about telegraph poles. Little ones, model ones, diorama-sized ones. He made the 10 inch model that now adorns our mantelpiece - next to the photo of my bank manager.
Anyway, now that the weather is better, Paul ventured outside to show us some of the things that adorn his curtilage He has a passion for the old London Midland Region of British Railways and this is reflected by the station and platform he has built in his garden. Painted red and cream of course. And what does a station need but a telegraph pole. So...
..."I bought the longest wooden pole I could find and fitted it with a cross arm and two spindles and insulators. As I am also interested in old forms of lighting, I added a suitable light fitting which switches on at dusk and goes off at midnight. There are no wires to the pole - yet - but planning is underway and two-way communication between the house and station should be achieved using a pair of field telephones, Army, type F."
Paul also sent us a photo of the remnant of a crossarm unearthed whilst rummaging in the undergrowth at Craigellachie station...
..."Now mounted on a stub pole which will eventually form part of the station communications network mentioned above. The position I found the relic in, just beyond the end of the station platform, means that it must have been mounted on the pole adjacent to the signal box, a photo of which I found in a book. It is rather nice to be able to see a photo of something now preserved for posterity, or at least as long as I am around to look after it, following which my nearest and dearest will probably chuck it in a skip!"
Paul's cakebox diorama came to the attention of the Editor of British Railway Modelling magazine, who commissioned him to write and illustrate some railway modelling projects for the mag. The second of these articles concerns the authentic modelling of telegraph poles. Paul tells us he feels that most modellers simply plant model poles straight out of the box, without much thought as to their authenticity. This has to change. I feel a campaign coming on.
A sudden letter of underwhelmment*1 this week from Jenny Tailyour recently returned from a journey of unenlightenment:
Given the legendary ferocity of their thirsts, your membership may be interested in a discovery made during an otherwise disappointing tour of the Scottish lowlands. Attached are photographs of unspectacular poles at Coldstream and North Berwick. The third photograph, however, represents a consummation devoutly to be wished by any lover of those two pillars of civilised society: telegraph poles and alcohol. Yes, finally, a telegraph pole you can actually drink. This bottle of Bush Telegraph comes from the Antipodes yet was found resting on the shelves of an out-of-the-way 'offie' in East Lothian.
It is now empty.
*1 Underwhelmment really should be a word.
Congratulations to Aaron Bailey who finally gets a credit for Pole of the Month. He was recently disqualified during a previous attempt at this prestigious award due to having submitted photos of dead poles. This time however – poor quality photograph notwithstanding – he bagged a winner:
“After a recent visit to that place where it always rains, North Wales, (Llanberis actually) I also saw that rare blue thing you have also spotted whilst looking skywards for tall, wooden sticky up things. See pictures. This pretty standard BT pole comes complete with its own self seeded Rowan tree growing out the top.
So not only is it tall, wooden and sticky up it’s also going to keep going up as it grows and gets taller! So how about that from a Telegraph Poler’s Brain!”
Let me start with apologies. A power surge in our particular valley destroyed just two things last week: #1; my broadband router, and #2; the bit in the exchange where my particular wire plugs into whatever apparatus they have in there. Everything and everyone else for miles around was completely unscathed. So if you're waiting for a reply from me for anything do please carry on waiting as this has nothing at all to do with my tardiness - that's just sloth on my part. This apology is for Mrs TPAS for using some choice and military strength vocabulary as the internet singularly failed to let me listen to the final hours of the football league relegation dramas. My life revolves around relegation dogfights and then ultimately the relegation itself.
So, back to matters of appreciation. Regular readers of this sage prose will know of my affinity towards dioramas. Not so very long ago I commissioned a spectacular 3 armed miniature telegraph pole for my mantlepiece from member #0654, Paul Kirkup. To this day, it still has pride of place among my Reddest Rhubarb, Curliest Runner Bean and other trophies.
Anyway, another Paul, Paul Rees, a diorama modeller of some spectacularity sent me the fantastic photos you see below of a 33kv termination pole, an L6 400kv tower (pylon to you) and a 33kv substation. These just blew me away in the level of detail. Paul says the 33kv pole is modelled on one that can be found at Port Lane substation outside Winchester. Quite brilliant. Thanks for sharing them with us.
If these are for a competition Paul, I suspect some silverware will be making it to your mantlepiece too. Not fruit and veg related trophies alas, but you can't have everything.
Until very recently Gary Straiton thought he was alone. Completely alone. But let me assure you of this Gary, you are born alone, and you will die alone but in between there is The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society. You have found us new member #0829 and you are among friends. Weird friends, but friends nonetheless.
"Anyway," Gary tells us "One of my things is proper railway lines with telegraph poles." (Ours too Gary) He sent us the following photos of the poles remaining on the closed (1967) main line between Perth and Kinnaber Junction. He also told us that when permission was granted to close the line by Barbara Castle one of the conditions was that infrastructure was to remain in case of reopening (insert ho ho ho's here). The line was shut in September 67 but a section remained open for goods only until June 1982. It's important to know this formed part of the West Coast Main Line, hence the pole route wasn’t lightweight.
Gary continued "Probably all the remaining TP’s on the Strathmore line are west of Forfar, the section of the line to Perth remaining open until 1982. It would appear that the poles weren’t part of the deal when the scrap men moved in."
Gary sent us links to his Flickr feeds with some brillilant photo collections that I highly recommend you take a look at. I'm rather pleased with myself that I've worked out this clever way of shortening the links. That's what we're here for. Anyway, the pics are brilliant, thanks Gary.
Nothing more to be said really. Good job it wasn’t a power line ! Many thanks to Robert Park for this Irish brilliance.
Our Honorary Technical Advisor, Sir Keith S**a* (ooh! I nearly said his name then) continues the search for a telegraph pole with his initials on. The pictures you see below are from his recent foray into darkest Dumfries & Galloway. It was here – whilst tantalising a dozen or more trout with a Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear*1 – that Keith came across these seemingly unused poles forming a
makeshift bridge over a ditch for the facilitation of timber extraction.
“I found that one of them is a 9 metre medium pole bearing the initials of my old friend and mentor BK, Bernard Kendall. Bernard was from Birmingham and was the resident Poles Inspector at the pole yard of Calders and Grandidge at Boston Lincolnshire.
I was a young trainee and had to spend 3 months, under the instruction of the inspector, at each of the 7 pole depots around the country to complete my training, so was away from wife and son all week and home at week-ends, then an internal exam to qualify for the job. (I got the best exam marks ever recorded). Anyway, Bernard and his wife Hilda took me under their wing, looked after me like a son, fed me, counselled me, and Hilda always made me my favourite Lemon Meringue Pie. They were the most wonderful caring people I have ever met and as I write I find I have tears in my eyes, they both went to that big pole yard in the sky many years ago.”
*1 As a young man-about-town, I always had a three-pack of these about my person.
– More in hope than anything.
– And this is the closest thing to innuendo that I’ve ever been.
– The trout are now cured, smoked and in Keith’s freezer. I know you were worried about them. As was the water-bailiff.