Let there be light: the arrival of gas and electricity

Kate Andrew has been investigating the date the lights went on…

Abberley has never had mains gas, but Abberley Hall had its own gas works.  In 1901, the gas engineer and his assistant were lodging in a house on The Common.  By 1921, the Hall was using electricity generated in the Power House (presumably the same building).  The electricity was generated from a steam engine and generator and stored in huge batteries in glass tanks.

The Shropshire Worcestershire and Staffordshire (SW&S) Electric Power Company installed mains power to Great Witley in 1935, the Post Office was the first to be connected, in May, the White House in June and the Village Institute (the building opposite the Village School) in October. (ref: Great Witley WI scrapbook)

Angela Thompson recalls that the houses on Wynniats Way in Abberley got electricity in the late 1930s when five neighbouring houses went onto a transformer, presumably from the same power lines that served Great Witley.

Mains electricity reached The Common in the early 1940s.  The school moved to electric lighting in the summer of 1943.  In 1950, Rosedale and The Corner House were sold with electric fittings (including a Creda electric cooker and Benco electric boiler, but the purchaser had to pay £25 extra for these!). Stockingfields had power to the house and farm buildings and a telephone when it was sold in 1956.

Other parts of the village remained un-connected even until the later 1960s.  Batteries for lighting and radios would be taken to Manchester House to be charged, otherwise, paraffin lamps were used.

Way-leave was payable by the SW&S Electric Power Company for power lines at the Walshes in 1942 but by 1956, way leave over Stockingfields Land is being paid by the MEB (Midlands Electricity Board).

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