These much ignored pieces of rural and urban furniture finally have a website of their own.

telegraph pole appreciation society logoThis is not the site to visit for technical information pertaining to telegraph poles. You'll find nothing about 10KVa transformers, digital telephone networking or even so much as a single volt. This is a website celebrating the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over. 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.

Charming rural customs

Mover and shaker in US power poles and long time friend to this society, Carter Wall, has written with this every day tale of country folk. 

Well, I have moved to the country since we last spoke, happily living on a dirt road with no mobile service, no cable television – we are very remote.  But we DO have phone and electric service, which means we have poles, of course.  We also have our Beloved Town Eccentrics, who have Charming Rural Customs.  One of my neighbors, who is well known in the area for his courageous resistance to government oppression, which includes refusing to make use of the town dump or pay for his utilities, has thriftily re-purposed the pole outside his house – see picture – and yes, the phone works.)

But could it just be that you’ve discovered the rural residence of New York’s most effectual, most tip-top, Top Cat?

A telephone attached to a telegraph pole in rural USA.

Britain’s newest pole

Taking Aaron, the family aardvark, out for a walk the other evening I became somewhat delicate from a creosotic obnoxious effluvium as I rounded a bend.  Up there by Llyn Clywedog Reservoir in the hills. A ’16 pole.  Yes, planted in 2016, but also preserved in 2016.  That’s the telegraph poleic equivalent of having a 2016 pound coin (presuming you’re reading this shortly after I wrote it) or getting a Kevin Hector in your bubble gum footy cards (back in the day).  So.  Take the left off the roundabout in Llanidloes (there’s only one) and then the road past the dam and follow your nose to this lovely, if bland looking, 10m Light pole.  3I being the wood yard apparently.

A brand new, freshly creosoted telegraph pole in mid walesA wider view of a  brand new, freshly creosoted telegraph pole in mid wales

As ever, click the images to enlarge.

Telegraph Pole Alignment Officer

We’ve worked hard on this, so apologies if you find it on every single Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society channel tonight – there’s always ITV2!

Anyway, we have long perpetuated the myth that the cross arms on telegraph poles always show the way to London. This was first raised by various members of this fair and esteemed society, but also by John Mills in the 1942 film “The Black Sheep of Whitehall”.

Well now we have absolute proof of the truth in this – we caught up for an interview with one of the last ever Telegraph Pole Alignment Officers, out on his patch in Wales. This 10 min short has lots of telegraph poles in it and was made here in ruralest, middest, darkest Wales.  Do enjoy.  Feedback appreciated.

TPAS Norwich Branch Spring Outing

This letter and accompanying telegraph pole related fascinators was sent on behalf of Mrs Doreen Bracegirdle – an occasional correspondent to these pages and who really is one of “those” aunties – if you get my drift.  Anyway, apologies to all of mankind for the delay in publishing – particularly to Auntie Doreen and young Gary m’lad.

A letter from Mrs Doreen Bracegirdle


Members of the TPAS Norwich and District branch recently visited the delightful Suffolk resort of Southwold.

Like many a coastal town, it has long been a magnet for senior citizens. But now it has become a noted retirement destination … for telegraph poles.

After decades of loyal service these grand old troupers had found their wire-carrying careers at an end. However, rather than spend their remaining years using their free passes to take up all the seats on the buses or holding up queues in the Co-op by counting out £1.93 entirely in coppers or volunteering to work in a charity shop but failing entirely to get to grips with the till, many have taken on useful new jobs.

In Southwold they are to be found each day at the harbour, marking out parking spaces, helping shore up the harbour wall, offering a mooring or two and even warning of the presence of underwater cables. That said, a few ‘oldies’ are still on active BT duty in Southwold (we saw a nice example up an alleyway near a church) and nearby Walberswick (where a 91-year-old pole outside the chapel proudly bears the original DP label). But it’s nice to know that, when their time comes, they can look forward to a retirement which doesn’t just consist of reading the Daily Mail and tutting.

Gary Snipe, N&D district branch treasurer.


Pole Saviour

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Special thanks to Gareth Spencer, part BT, part hypnotiser for the tip-off for this story.  Also a phone call while I was away on my hollies in Ireland from a BBC reporter who wanted this society’s anshauung*1 on the whole story.

One of the oldest telegraph poles in the UK has been saved to remain forever*2 to stand alongside the canal at Oilmills Bridge in Ebley near Stroud in Gloucestershire.  This is the first time we have heard of poles actually being saved – with BT Openreach promising to continue to look after it as though it were an operational pole despite its being unused for up to thirty years.  It is believed that the pole dates from 1895 and formed part of the link between Stonehouse and Stroud.  I feel a bus trip coming on here.

Anyway, congratulations to the oft-maligned BT Openreach who get nowt but praise from our particular direction (WNW from there) and now that I have some names they can look forward to many, many emails from me.

A saved multi-arm fascinator pole near Stround

L2R: Martin Northfield, BT Openreach; Cllr Steve Lydon, Stroud District Council and Paul Purcell, Proprietors of the Stroudwater Navigation by said pole.

I don’t normally just lift photos off the internet, but I haven’t been able to source one of my own.  So, in a weak attempt to assauge any copyright infringement flak that may come our way, I’d just like to say what a fine and informative newspaper the Stroud News & Journal is – I wouldn’t eat chips out of anything else.  And reporter Saul Cooke-Black’s sterling work at Stourbridge FC is sterling indeed.  The full story of the above and from which mine is so obviously cribbed can be found <<right here>>.

*1 I’ve been playing with my thesaurus and can see me irritating a lot of people with my smug erudition as I bandy anshauung around from here on.
*2 Possibly not true: forever means infinity which is technically the limit that a function ƒ is said to approach at x = a when ƒ(x) is larger than any preassigned number for all x sufficiently near a.

Pole of the Month – August 2016

Lauren off the internet sent us this photo which we immediately fast-tracked to be our Pole of the Month.  Lauren neglected to provide a surname, but with an email address like “exonerd…” we can gain some insight into what makes her tick and that she is likely at home perusing these sage pages.  Anyway, Lauren says:

I recently discovered this fine example of an old style TP in County Durham. It was all alone on the side of the A167, next to a cemetery.
Could anyone tell me approx. which year or decade these old style TP’s were replaced with the less interesting modern ones?
Kind regards

Many thanks to you for this delightful pole Lauren.  And I think it’s fair to say that there is no specific decade when these poles were replaced with modern ones- just that as and when the pole itself eventually failed it would be replaced.

Poles like this are so rare that it should be a Listed Monument or at least have a Pole Preservation Order put on it.  I feel a letter coming on.

Pole of the Month, August 2016 from County Durham

People called John and telegraph poles

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Two amazing facts for you here tonight.

1.  This post is in response to an email that is just about to celebrate its first birthday in my inbox.
2.  A disproporionate number of people called John are into*1 telegraph poles.

Member #0512 and a long-time friend and correspondent to these pages and an ascendent of telegraph poles in the Oxford region sent us these photos.  He says

A couple of pics of a pole I had to recover from the old Austin Morris works in Cowley Oxford. Now it’s not hard to imagine the voice of Lord Nuffield himself travelling along these now defunct wires! what do you think?

I think you are right, John.  And who knows what tone of Lord Nuffield’s voice these wires may have carried.  Altruistic endeavours, likely – or if my swift internet search*2 is anything to go by – something altogether less suited to these pages.  Moving swiftly on…

To fact #2.  29 members of this prestigious society have the name John.  I’m not really sure how many members we actually have as I was a bit random at dishing out numbers at the start but I’ve always been consecutive and we’re now up to #0743 which was issued yesterday.  So, for argument’s sake, let’s say 700.  That’s 4% of TPAS members are called John.  Yet when I come to look at a graph of the number of people called John in the general public I find I can’t understand it, at all,  and so this whole point I was going to make – and it was really going to be a big point, sort of peters out in the hope that you won’t read this far anyway.  Amazing what you find out on the internet.  Here’s John’s lovely photos.

A three-armed telegraph pole at Cowley plant, OxfordA telegraph pole lying down on the job at Austin Morris works, Cowley, Oxford

*1 into [preposition] dig, like, rather fond of, appreciate
*2 Note I didn’t say google here – down with the non-taxpayers.
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