HERSTMONCEUX GENERATING WORKS HISTORY

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THE MODERN AGE OF ELECTRICITY

 

We are now in the modern electrical age. We rely on electricity for computers, to power our factories, run our offices and our homes.  This was all made possible because of the electrical generating industry which began with private landowners installing generating equipment for their estates.  This soon spread as townships started up municipal supplies, absorbing private installations as they expanded so heralding the modern age.

 

Recently, it was realised that all evidence of this important stage in Man's development would be lost as the archaeological remains of early installations were being demolished unchecked.  For this reason English Heritage commissioned a Monument Protection Program in 1995, as a means to identify and preserve examples of different types of installation.

 

One such example that was nearly overlooked is the Old Steam House at Herstmonceux in England.  The story of how this building came to be recognised by English Heritage, the County Archaeologist and others is a lesson to public authorities to tend to their duty to protect the historic built environment, rather than steamroller protest as to injustice.  This local administration had taken a dislike to the occupier, after neighbours with good connections wanted to purchase his barn building and he'd refused to sell. 

 

 

 

No restoration can begin until dispute resolved - still ongoing 2004

 

 

In 1987 Nelson Kruschandl's local council told the Planning Inspectorate his home held no history worth preserving.  Nelson applied again in 1995 and this time the council employed a specialist conservationist, Chezel Bird, who presumably having been instructed not to assist the applicant, failed to consult English Heritage as required by Government guidelines.  This application was also taken to appeal and once again the Planning Inspectorate accepted Wealden District Council's assertions in good faith.  Nelson continued to lobby local councillors then later in 1997 he was introduced to a gardener named Ron Saunders.  Ron had worked on the estate in 1936 and remembered seeing the generating machinery and batteries in situ.  He went on to explain that his father was an engineer who operated the equipment.

 

Armed with this new information Nelson applied again in 1998 to save the building by means of a conversion.  This is the usual way old buildings find a beneficial use and become restored.  Unfortunately for Nelson, his local authority was so corrupted, it's high ranking officers misdirected the elected members to ignore the obvious local history in favour of further obstructing the applicant.  Their head of legal services, Victorio Patrick Scarpa actually stood up and advised the committee "we don't want to give permission to this applicant."  This treatment is unlawful according to the Human Rights Act 1998.  However, it would appear from the evidence that this council does not recognise the rights of the individual but rather is a law unto itself.  This was later brought home when a Mr Chester Hudson learned from Wealden's files that they knew what the building was in 1985, but had buried the evidence.

 

Undaunted, Nelson applied again in 1999 and this time sought the advice of English Heritage and the County Archaeologist independently, where it was certain Wealden Council would avoid doing anything which might reveal their long term deception.  An article in the Evening Argus netted the 1911 operating instructions missing from Amberley Museum, when a member of the public realised what he'd bought at a boot fair.  Where the Royals are not in a position to become directly involved in run of the mill cases, English Heritage did what they could to persuade Wealden Council to do the right thing.

 

During the course of his investigations, Nelson met a number of persons complaining of heavy handed treatment, involving the same corrupt officers in his local Council's legal and planning departments.  It seems he was not alone.  The lack of policing of the planning system encourages corruption - planning favours - brown envelopes and the like.  Corruption in local administration, apart from the obvious criminal implications, is such a waste of resources, where bent officers get rich (usually long serving officers in peach positions).  Recognising this loophole, the Nolan Committee, now Neil Committee, suggested admitting a new crime to the statute books way back in 1997.  These recommendations have not been acted on, but we remain hopeful that the many examples of injustice now surfacing will persuade those responsible for law and order to act to quash this particular form of white collar crime 

 

 

 


 

 

Herstmonceux Electricity Generating Works Circa. 1900 - 1936   Links:

 

 

Introduction  |  Instructions  |  ISBN  |  Batteries  |  Boiler Room   |  Floor Plan  |  Ron Saunders

 

Industrial Revolution  |   Lime Park  |  Machinery  |  Map  |  Power House  |  Argus 1999

 

Public Supply  |  Roof Construction  |  Rural SupplySussex Express 1913  |  Conclusion

 

Archaeology South East   |   East Sussex CC  |  English HeritageSIAS  |  Sx Exp 1999

 

 


 

Herstmonceux Links Page

 

Wentworth House

 

 

 

 

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