1880 Thomas Edison virtually initiated the public supply
of electricity. He
obtained a simple patent in the USA covering components
of a supply system – light bulbs, generators and
He then formed the Edison Electric Illuminating
Company and established the Pearl Street Generating
Station in New York.
Electric Lighting Works
London, pioneer efforts to supply the public with
electricity followed rapidly.
Legislation was required to allow the laying down
of mains supply cables along streets.
Accordingly, the Government set up a select
Committee to consider the conditions under which private
companies should be permitted to provide electricity.
on the Committee’s report the Electric Lighting Act
was passed in 1882.
Unfortunately, one of the provisions of this Act
proved a disincentive to private investment, only
allowing 21 years operation before acquisition by
municipalities and it was not until 1888 when a revised
Act was passed, promising 42 years, that saw the rapid
growth of the electricity supply industry.
1891 the brilliant engineer John Hopkinson designed the
Manchester Electric Lighting Works.
The installation comprised 4 generators producing
600 amps @ 400 volts.
He used four reciprocating steam engines, driving
four dynamos through belts and pulleys. The layout and
type of machinery is very similar to that evidenced at
The Old Steam House.
Generating Station – South London
Stockwell generating station four large Edison-Hopkinson
dynamos gave an output of 450 amps @ 500 volts.
This energy was used to drive locomotives on the
City and South London tube between 1890 and 1923.
This set the pattern for future development.
Electricity Generating Works Circa. 1900 - 1936
Room | Floor
Plan | Ron
Park | Machinery
House | Argus
Supply | Roof
Construction | Rural
Supply | Sussex
Express 1913 |
South East |
East Sussex CC
| English Heritage
| Sx Exp 1999