HISTELEC NEWS No.7 January 1998

  1. 100th MEMBER ENROLLED
  2. A MILESTONE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIETY
  3. CAIRNS ROAD HOLD-UP
  4. TRANSATLANTIC CABLES
  5. SWELA APPLICATION
  6. FINCH FOUNDRY AT STICKLEPATH
  7. VISIT TO BRISTOL INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM (BIM)
  8. BRISTOL CONFERENCE ROOMS
  9. JUNIOR LIFE SKILLS
  10. MEMBERS NEWS
  11. IRONBRIDGE
  12. ARCHIVES
  13. SOUTH WEST FILM ARCHIVE
  14. WEST COUNTRY TV
  15. CANCELLED MEETING

Supplement to Histelec News No.7
TRANSATLANTIC CABLES

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Please send information, articles, photographs or letters to Peter Lamb at 35 Station Road, Backwell, Bristol BS48 3NH or telephone on 01275 463160 or

HISTELEC NEWS No.7 January 1998

100th MEMBER ENROLLED

A hearty welcome is accorded the many new members, who have joined in the last six months, the most recent being Keith Morgan, Ivor Bowditch and Brian Jordan who is our 100th member. Great news!!

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A MILESTONE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOCIETY

OF THE SOCIETY The weekend at Fowey, commencing on the 2nd October, was a terrific success and therefore a milestone in the development of the Society. This is not an idle boast, since we had 43 people attending of which 42 stayed at the Fowey Hotel.

For those who did not make it, most of us arrived late on the Friday afternoon and joined in a picture quiz arranged by Barrie Phillips. We sat down to Dinner at 7.00pm the food at the hotel being excellent. After dinner we were entertained by Mike Wreford and a presentation of a "fun" chain of office to the chairman John Haynes.
ECC St.AustellOn the Saturday we embarked on an all day conducted tour of English China Clays St Austell complexes viewing the process from extraction to the finished product Our guide was Mr. Ivor Bowditch, Community & Public Relations Manager. He was extremely knowledgeable giving off-the-cuff information continuously throughout the day. {He had had a meeting only a few days before with one of our members, Eric Edmonds representing the Trevithick Society) We also visited a Crossley diesel driven generating plant (5MW) at Drinnick, an old beam engine at Parkandillack and small hydro-electric station (250kW) at Ponts Mill We were told that the old St.Austell Electric Supply Company power station, which had been situated nearby, had been demolished.

Steam Boat Those less interested in modern industry or industrial archaeology went to another historic setting at the Lost Gardens of Heligan and had a great day out. Some stayed an extra day and went to both, very crafty! On Saturday evening Barrie had arranged an entertainer, who could be described as a Cornish singer with a few yarns thrown in. On Sunday morning we had a delightful steam boat trip up and around the Fowey estuary. The weather was very kind to us with strong sunshine during the boat trip. We were all surprised by the huge size of the china clay docks up stream as we were delighted by the beauty of the estuary.

David Hutton, Vice-chairman, thanked Barrie for the superb arrangements of the weekend all of which appeared to go smoothly. Everyone was extremely pleased with the choice of hotel, which is situated in an idyllic setting with most bedrooms having super sea views. Peter Lamb

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CAIRNS ROAD HOLD-UP

We have now had a letter from Glen Kundert, SWEB's Communications Manager. telling us officially of the deferment of the renovation of the second room at (Cairns Road All deferrable expanditure has been halted, due to high cost to SWEB of the Windfall Tax.

We have been told to apply again at the start of the next financial year i.e April 1998

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TRANSATLANTIC CABLES

Barrie Phillips has again put pen to paper after considerable research and given us a superb supplement, which is attached. Thank you to Barrie on behalf of everyonc.
Link to TRANSATLANTIC CABLES

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SWELA APPLICATION

Following changes in the roles of South Western Electricity Leisure Association, we have reapplied. We were originally turned down. The advantages of being affiliated are the possibilities of insurance cover and some money for the development of Cairns Road being available.

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FINCH FOUNDRY AT STICKLEPATH

Finch Foundry Water TurbineIn mentioning the above in the last edition. The editor omitted to give you the punchline!! The National Trust is keen to preserve the old Maryon and Co. Ltd. water turbine, which has been rusting away at the Finch Foundry for some time. (The turbine was coupled to a Brush 12kW 230 volt single phase alternator) It would make an interesting educational exhibit alongside the foundry. The Trust have no money for this work,but it could make an interesting project for a team of four or five volunteers, who arc happy to roll up their sleeves for a few weeks in 1998.
So far there are three members keen to take on this project near Okehampton - if you would like to join them, please ring me on 01392 860529.
Barrie Phillips

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VISIT TO BRISTOL INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM (BIM)

Having negotiated the complexities of the Cumberland Basin road system, made more tortuous by the operation of the swing bridges at the time of our arrival (we all made it), a party of 35 members gathered at the Pump House Inn for lunch in a room reserved for us prior to the BIM visit. Someone suggested that we should walk the 11/2 miles to the Museum, but this was dismissed due to the the vagaries of the weather.

Andy King, the Museum Director, met our party on the quayside outside the Museum and outlined the extent of the external exhibits and activities. He pointed out various features of the view of Bristol that could be seen from our standpoint opposite the confluence of the River Frome and the original route of the River Avon. He explained the reasons for the rise and fall of Bristol as a port, which was once second in size and activity to the Port of London in the mid 18th century.

Before entering the Museum we were shown all the cranes, railway and boats, maintained by the Museum, some of which operated during the Summer months.

Inside the Museum, Andy King explained that Bristol had been a "self supporting city" containing every conceivable manufacturing industry., some supporting each other. Typical of these industries was the tobacco industry, where Wills required not only machines to manufacture cigarettes etc but also paper, cardboard, packets, boxes and printing. These firms included Mardon, Son & Hall, Brecknoll. Dolmen & Rogers. St. Annes Board Mills, Thrissels and so on. A similar story surrounded the chocolate industry.

We were shown the workshops where various artefacts were renovated maintained and preserved. The problems of this was explained including the degradation of materials such as rubber, bakelite and plastics. In order to give "hands-on" experience associated with printing. members of the public could on certain days use old machinery, to print paper bags etc.

Our party was then taken into the large top floor of the Reserve Collection. What an Aladdin's Cave opened up before us, items stored included model ships, model aeroplanes, motor bikes, old machines used in the boot & shoe trade, horse drawn carriages, farm wagons, a considerable number of steam engines (including one Bellis & Morcomb) and so on. The sheer quantity of items stored was staggering. Eventually we were persuaded to transfer our interest to the many exhibits in the Museum.

These include displays relating to the Port of Bristol, the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Bristol Bus Company and road transport.

As the afternoon turned to early evening, museum staff could be seen persuading inquisitive Society members to leave. I am certain we outstayed our welcome and equally certain that this was what Andy King expected! Mike Williams

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BRISTOL CONFERENCE ROOMS

The Conference Rooms at Feeder Road longer be available to us after 1st January due to the sale of the Avonbank Offices. Eventually hope to have our Bristol meetings at our Cairns Road premises when the work is complete on second room.

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JUNIOR LIFE SKILLS

Bristol members were involved in a SWEB stand at a children's seminar/course on the above topic organised by the Bristol City Council. The stand at the University Halls of Residence at Stoke Bishop, which we were told was designed by Mike Cockram (but he denies it!!) and was contrived to challenge the youngsters in their safety knowledge. We have indicated that we would like to do the same next year as everyone involved considered it to be very worthwhile. With more time a wider tranche of members will be sought.

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MEMBERS NEWS

David Whitehead is giving a talk to the Retired Professional Engineers Club on Wednesday 11th March at St. Peter's Hall, Henleaze on his decryption experiences at Bletchley Park during the War, it is entitled "Bombes Hit Shark, Colossus Netted Fish". Wow. what a title!!

Eric Edmonds is pretty active in Cornwall's industrial history. He has recently given some of his collection to the Society's Archive. Many thanks,Eric.

David Legg who is our honorary auditor has had a mild heart attack, but is doing well.

John Redgrove's wife Maureen has been very seriously ill, but is now making a recovery. We wish her well.

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IRONBRIDGE

With the success of the Fowey weekend ringing in their ears, some members have suggested that we do it again in 1999! i.e. have a weekend away. The hot favourite is Ironbridge Museum in Shropshire. There are about five sites in the Severn Valley at Ironbridge associated with what is described as the start of the Industrial Revolution. If you like the idea or are opposed to it or even have a better idea. please let our committee members know your views over the next few months.

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ARCHIVES

Graham Warburton has completed the archiving of the Central Construction Dept. (CCD) Records Thanks to Graham.

Paul Hulbert is arranging to gain somc publicity for the Society associated with a formal acknowledgement of the hand-over on permanent loan of our film archives to the South West Film Archive at Plymouth. Also we have been asked to agree a formal contract for the use of the material for commercial use.

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SOUTH WEST FILM ARCHIVE

Have you ever heard of this'? Both Paul Hulbert and Peter Lamb have visited their premises at the Foot & Bowden Building in Plymouth. It is quite a large archive enjoying controlled conditions of both temperature and humidity.

Did you know that they werc set up as a trust to look after the film archive of South West Television when they lost their franchise over three years ago. They are very enterprising, since they are fortunate to have persuaded BBC at Plymouth to store films and videos with them and are able to offer them for commercial use with the BBC's permission. They arc the only archive in the Country with access to BBC films

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WEST COUNTRY TV

We have been approached by the above TV Company to provide films and other archive material for a programme about the history of the West Country. Watch this space!

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CANCELLED MEETING

Did you realise that the meeting on 6th Sept which was deferred to 1998 due to holiday commitments, would have had to have been cancelled any way due to Princess Diana's Funeral. Who has the command of the crystal ball?

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