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.

A European City of Cultured poles

posted in: History | 0

Hull, the city, not the underneath part of a boat – is unique in telephone lore insomuch as it has its own independent telephone network.  This came about largely due to endless patent and rights squabbling and the attempted breakup of the NTC (National Telephone Company) monopoly.  I would only be summarising someone else’s history work were I to publish it here – and I’d also have to work that bit harder too – so I’ll just give you the link <here>

Anyway, Hullovian Aaron Bailey sent us in these photos of this 30ft Medium telegraph pole he has acquired (as you do) and answers his own question in identifying the HTC lettering as Hull City Telephone.  He also asks about the insulators and what they’re made of.   So off I went on a little surf.  HTC took me to Hull City Transport and the many complaints about them – what’s public transport for if it’s not for complaining about. Whereas Hull City took me to a fascinating page about becoming a mascot for the forthcoming Hull vs Stoke City game – sounds fantastic and my application is in the post.
An extended week-long surf later I think I have the answer.  I think it is a proprietary resin called “Telenduron” which sounds like something that would stop eggs sticking to your frying pan – little known or remembered it fell out of favour with telegraph pole types as it became degraded and pitted.

Aaron worked on the power lines for 7 years and managed to collect a few pole signs over this time and the last photo shows us his rather nifty display pole.  I can’t help but feel that to be truly authentic though he should have left room for a missing cat poster.



A telegraph pole in a street in Merrick Street, HullAaron wrote back to tell us that all the more recent poles in Hull now have KC or KCL (Kingston Communications) cut into them instead of HCT.  He says he tried to sell the pole on eBay hoping for some interest in the insulators – someone sent him a message asking if the pole was the one removed from a street in Hull.  Sure enough, Aaron searched on Google maps and there it was.  I think it is this fact – that someone recognised this very pole – that has impressed me more than anything anywhere in the world so far this year.

Icelandic Poles

Surprising isn’t it that I never start any of these posts with the letter “i”.  Truth is, the fancy dropped-capital letter thing what I do looks crap with letter i’s.  So anyway, what I wanted to say is “It may just be that we never really imagine Iceland – the Björkish north atlantic country – not the British supermarket chain – ever having poles.  Well they do and our Icelandic correspondent, Hâfi Martinsdottir*1, has just reported back from there with these magnificent photos.  These are from near Vik*2 in Southern Iceland.  And whilst more power than telegraphic in nature, they still have that aesthetic enchantment that keeps people like me fixated upon them. Njóta


*1Our correspondents are so poorly paid that Miss Martinsdottir spent 14 days sleeping in the back of a Skoda Fabia in the middle of winter in order to acquire these pics for our voracious readership.  Dedication indeed.
*2 The Sinex Nasal Spray and the stuff you rub on your chest has a “c” in it : Vick.

Competition Time

Now, I have one amazing claim to fame:  On 17th May 1985 somewhere on the M6 near Walsall I overtook a dark blue estate car.  At the wheel of that car was none other than Duncan Goodhew.  Yes this famously dyslexic motivational-speaker who has twice appeared on the Sooty Show glanced across at me knowingly – I could just see in his eyes he was trying to say “For Christ’s sake, come on then, overtake if you’re going to.”  Duncan, by this time, tiring of his squeaky puppet celebrity, discovered that his low-friction scalp gave him an advantage in the swimming pool.  He never looked back and won all medals and stuff and then did other stuff, probably. The final Sooty Show aired in 1992. 

Anyway, now it’s time for your very own CLAIM TO FAME.  It’s WIN A TPAS MUG COMPETITION TIME – Yes, enthrall your grandchildren as they beg you again and again to tell them the story of the day you won a Telegraph Pole mug off the chap who overtook Duncan Goodhew on the M6.

It’s one of those caption sort of competions.  Think up a caption or indeed anything at all to say about the picture you see below.  Not the mug picture, the other one.  Look up the rules on someone else’s caption competition and send us your caption/observations.  Look, we tried to come up with a caption ourselves and realised how hard it is – so we’ll accept pretty much anything so long as it’s related to the picture below.  We’ll choose a winner from one of my wife’s*1 ones by next Saturday (ish).  The picture was sent in to us by Dave Bennett (#0666) and somebody else sent it to him – the photo was taken at 16 megapixels apparently, but somehow shrank in the wash so I had to photoshop it back up again.  Anyway, here it flippin’ is.  See below picture for where to send your ideas.

 3 different sized power poles and pylons in a field

*1 Only kidding – she’s the judge actually.

A Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society MugSend your thoughts/caption/anything about this picture to us at:

FACEBOOK: In the comments section on the related post on our facebook page

Look what you win: (not that exact mug – you won’t want that one – it forms part of our in-house tea-stain ring-growing competition.)

We reserve the right to change the rules to suit ourselves – cos there’s always someone who tries it on.  No more than 2 captions per fake email address please.


Aged pole in Shildon (Co. Durham)

posted in: Vintage | 0

Alex Latham’s eye was taken by this olde pole in the small town of Shildon*1 Co. Durham:

I thought it quite remarkable for it to have survived for so long in an urban area.
Judging by the large amount of wires streaming away from it in all directions, it seems to be keeping busy in its old age, unlike most of its peers that will now have been retired or replaced.  I say long may it survive and continue to do its duty!

Can’t tell the vintage of distribution pole #44 from this angle, but it certainly looks long in tooth and there is something pleasing about the wires in the second sky picture. (Click the pictures to enlarge.  Oh, you know this by now!)  Thanks Alex for keeping your eyes so peeled 🙂

An old distribution pole in Shildon, Co. Durham.An old distribution pole in Shildon, Co. Durham.An old distribution pole in Shildon, Co. Durham.

*1 Never flippin’ heard of it.

Skye Poles

MartYn Fielder (#0486H) claims never to have seen the Telegraph Pole related blockbuster “The Pole Liner”.  We find this a little difficult to believe, but just to ensure this status quo becomes mutatis mutandis*1 here is a link to see this cinematic masterpiece for free, in your own home completely surrounded by your own odours. <Watch The Pole Liner>.  Anyway MartYn also apologises for his non-correspondence for the last 3 years, but he hopes his submission of the 6 photos you see below will go some way to correcting things.  We’ll give it a go…

He also pointed us in the direction of the “Dull Men’s Club” for reasons we cannot yet fathom.  We are familiar with said organisation, but it seems, they not with us.  Also, MartYn filled us in on his recent potted history.  He left Senegal, moved to Paris, got Married and went on honeymoon to the Isle*2 of Skye.  This is not a permutation of events achieved by anyone ever, either before or since. It was during the honeymoon on Skye that he spotted these “Jolly looking poles with extra pokey bits” with the Cuillin Hills in the background during Skye’s annual sunny day of 2015.  He couldn’t choose between the pics*3 so he sent them all.  Anyway, he asks what are the pokey bits?  Well, MartYn your nomenclature is bang on the nail.  The correct telegraphpoleological term for these raised insulators on stalks is indeed “Pokey Bits”. So that’s that cleared up then.


*1 The opposite of Status Quo.  Showaddywaddy perform a similar function.
*2 As a nerd, I take issue with describing Skye as an island seeing as it now has a bridge.
*3 Neither could I

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


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