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.

Christmas Poles in Florida

Regular and high-powered*1 contributor to the depth of telegraphic wisdom that makes up these society pages – is our old friend Carter Wall (#0487H).  Carter tells us she has decamped to Florida for her Yuletide felicitations – and if I had not got a grip of myself and not finally got around to posting this now it would have seemed hopelessly anachronistic.  As it is, 1st Jan is still officially Crimbo.  Anyway…

We have decamped to sunny Florida for the holidays, and got here in time to catch the town’s very home-made Christmas parade, which features everything from the high school marching band to the local dentist dressed as Santa, driving his Corvette. My hands down favorite in the parade, and I am sure that of any other TPASers*2 in the crowd, was the local electric utility’s float, which featured two telegraph poles, complete with hardware.  First time I’ve seen a pole with fairy lights! Merry Christmas to you all!

A Utility pole themed carnival float at Christmas in Florida

Cater signed off with “Sent from my mobile – please pardon any typos”.  Well of course I will – I’m not the sort to hold grudges. Typos, you are forgiven.
*1 Did you see what I did there? Oh goodness me, I’m just so sharp!
*2 Yes, this definitely would be a favourite.

Finials III and the dentist from hell.

Ray Newman would have sent us these fine pictures of Telegraph Pole Finials much sooner, only he tells us he has been the victim of a dental extraction which went terribly wrong. For Ray’s dentist had got things completely back to front – instead of taking Ray’s teeth out – he accidentally fitted a handful of teeth IN to Ray’s already full mouth. So the poor chap has been walking the streets of Bishopstone, Herne Bay smiling and beaming at everyone, in a desperate attempt to use up this excess in superfluous dental accoutrements.

Anyway, he’s nearly back to a regular grin now, thankfully, and has been taking the time to look skywards at telegraph pole adornments: Herewith two pictures of a pole with Owl shaped finial – presumably, together with the bird spikes intended to ward off birds – with limited success if picture #1 is anything to go by. Ray has also come up against the age old telegraph pole appreciators’ exposure problem: photographing them against a bright sky – a problem he seems almost to have overcome by the third picture which shows a handsome wooden finial.

Many thanks Ray. Do keep smiling 🙂

Telephone pole with an owl finial on top Telephone pole with an owl finial on top Telephone pole with an ordinary finial on top

Most Leaniest Pole & Thinnest Pole competition(s)

John Brunsden (#0469H) has an advantage over we mere mortal telegraph pole appreciators insomuch as he is a professional ascender and mender of said grounded perpendicular appendages. And we’re always extremely grateful for his updates from the field.  Accepting that he gets first pick of the most somethingest of all telegraph poles and is finely tuned to looking at them anyway, there is still plenty of scope for the rest of us to pick up the gauntlet he has hereby thrown down to us.  Namely, his entries to most leaning pole, and also thinnest pole (at just 3″ diameter).  Anyway, here’s what he had to say.

Had to go and look at a leaning pole in a garden this afternoon (photo enclosed) and thought this could be the start of “the pole with the most degrees of lean” competition?
Anyway, on the way there, I passed these lovely 3 in a row, 1942, tiny 18ft “extra” light poles, which they say were probably put up by land girls back in the day! Sadly all were “D” poles, so I guess not long for this world…
I duly submit pole 1 of these as my entry to “the thinnest pole” competition !
Happy Christmas

And a happy November first, then Christmas, to you too John 😉

Meanwhile, whilst we’ve never had a thinnest pole before, we have had a couple of leaners – namely <here> and <here>.  The latter of which was my own.  Oh, and does <this one> count?


michael donnithorne's missusSTOP PRESS

Not to be outleaned, Mike Donnithorne (#0597) sent us this picture of her indoors – not only sprouting leaves but as a delightful foreground to some sort* of leaning pole. This, from the mists of time, somewhere near Banbury he thinks. 

* Looks like the sail off a boat to me. Click to enlarge.


An Atmospheric Photo

posted in: History | 0

Special thanks to (#0620) John Cranston for this wonderfully atmospheric shot.  With a backdrop of 152 searchlights, it was taken 80 years ago this month and the light is coming from a live gig at the Nuremberg Stadium featuring the top act of 1936, Hitler and the Nazis.  

The ghoulish may wish to see more at

Telegraph Poles at Nuremberg


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

posted in: Vintage | 0

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.

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