HERSTMONCEUX MUSEUM (rural power station)


  An extremely rare wooden building survives as a monument to the ingenuity of man as he began to use electricity







As an example of how electricity supplies developed prior to the introduction of the National Grid, “Herstmonceux Museum is a rare survivor indeed.  The building’s original architecture remains (save for the coal gas generating room) to show Industrial Archaeologists in years to come how supplies were implemented in this location. The impact of the installation upon the rural landscape has survived almost intact for over 100 years and is as interesting evidence of a time of change.  The building remains a lasting reminder of how an enthusiastic entrepreneur expanded his private facility, to provide electricity to the otherwise isolated village of Herstmonceux and for much more than just street lighting, in true pioneering spirit.  Herstmonceux would not be complete without it.


That the building survives, is almost as interesting as the characters who occupied it.  The estate survives largely unaltered, except for extensions to East Lodge and 1 Lime Park, and the conversion of the Stables in the 1950's, for use by the local Rector as a Rectory (now The Old Rectory).  The grouping of the generating station within Lime Park is as important as the position of Lime Park in relation to the nearby village it supplied.  It is local opinion that the generation initiated by the Baron von Roemer and carried on by his son Charles de Roemer was a Sussex first.  This however, is speculative and is the subject of ongoing research.




Herstmonceux Museum, former generating station coal bunkers


Herstmonceux Museum's coal bunkers in 1983



All manner of questions arise from this discovery.  What became of the family von Roemer?  A whole host of interesting detail remains to be unraveled.  But, one thing is for certain, we have the frame of a valuable jigsaw puzzle upon which to build on our knowledge of technological achievement of days gone by and the way in which the inhabitants of a relatively isolated village came to terms with advances in technology.  In its own way this was a social experiment which by the recording of the events, we are lucky enough to be able to see today.


Electricity generation and its use by Consumers in the immediate area would have experienced commercial fluctuations.  The changeover from D.C. supply to A.C. supply being probably the greatest, causing its own transitional problems concurrent with absorption of the Enterprise into the National Grid.


The gradual spread of electricity in this way heralded the dawning of the modern age of electricity we currently enjoy.  In 1995 English Heritage, concerned at the disappearance of evidence of our industrial past, commissioned a Monument Protection Programme.  In 1998 Step 2 of the MPP included The Old Steam House as the Museum was previously known, along with Batemans as the only two entries for East Sussex.  Step 4 of this Report identified The Old Steam House, recommending protection via the planning process in accordance with local policies.  All good except that pre-supposes dealings with an honest council.


In April of 2004 Nelson Kruschandl renewed approaches to his local authority, who were unaware of the Step 4 conclusions.  Subsequently in November 2004 it was agreed that the local authority would take an active interest in the site, with a view to conserving local history. Wealden have since breached that Agreement, a County Court Order, proving once again that you can't trust local authorities even when they are bound by a court.


There is much work to be done to complete this particular puzzle.  The writer will appreciate any and all input, which may assist in the recording of this find.  If you know anything of this building or can help in any way with newspaper clippings, documents, photographs, or personal recollection, please make contact on +44 (0)1323-831727 or write c/o Herstmonceux Museum, Lime Park, Herstmonceux, E. Sussex, BN27 1RF, United Kingdom.


Alternatively, please see the contact page on this site for an email address.  We are particularly keen to obtain photographs of the building or machinery for publication on this site.  Please help us if you can.  Credit will be given for all contributions or anonymity assured as preferred.




Herstmonceux Museum



Herstmonceux Museum is now being restored by the Lime Park Heritage Trust as a museum in tribute to one of the most creative men around in 1909 and another alive today as @ (April 2013). The removal of the WWII corrugated iron proved once and for all that Inspector Raymond Dannreuther was misdirected by George Morham White and Thomas William Hoy into declaring that the building was not of wooden construction and not the original structure on the original foundations. A later authoritative survey by Archaeology South East put the record straight with an independent report, leaving Wealden District Council with egg all over their faces - and shock-horror, Ashley Brown, the then District Planning Officer was an amateur archeologist so must have suspected the truth. Naughty boy!


This was a bitter pill to swallow for Victorio Patrick Scarpa and David Laurence Phillips, who with Christine Nuttall and Trevor Scott had been nursing the lie ever since 1987. Not just nursing the lie, actually using the falsehood they had conspired together to conjure-up to give the occupier a rough ride and ultimately procure the premises at an undervalue for a neighbour - in an attempt to use a high court costs order to bankrupt their victim - in the process (unwittingly) involving Dame Butler Sloss in the conspiracy. Will these corrupt officers ever face a trial? Not likely, in view of the revelation that Sussex Police were in on the scam - providing blank headed notepaper for council officials to write whatever they wanted the police to say in relation to a Petition that Lord Newton masterminded to declare that it was not in the Council's remit to consider any allegations or evidence with potentially criminal elements - when in fact that is not true, for it is council's who prosecute when the Town and Country Planning Act is involved and so the council could have investigated and prosecuted their own officers.


The good news out of all of this is that the fortitude of the previous occupier was such that he beat off the repeated attacks on his person, finally uncovered the history that this council were dreading would ever see the light of day. Three cheers for the little man. The upshot is that where neighbours wanted to demolish the historic remains to enhance the value of their properties, it is those neighbours who in the end vacated Lime Park, till death we do part - for there are still malingerers as we write.


What this country needs is a Planning Corruption Squad, dedicated to investigating the perjury of likes of Ian Macrorie Kay (assistant district planning officer), who was also involved in this attempt to stifle the truth. This "Squad" should be formed of officers from around the country with no ties and so no conflicts of interest, but simply to investigate the local authorities, to include any unsavory associations with the police and heaven forbid, the masons - should there be Masonic ties to consider. In the case of Herstmonceux Museum, Masonic influence was brought to bear, for the former occupier was engaged to the daughter of a former Lodge Master and foolishly called off that engagement invoking the Wrath of Khan, when even Captain Kirk would've had difficulty saving his ship - and yes, the consequences were dire. But even from this stitch-up the robust fellow emerged stronger and with yet more evidence of corruption in high places.






























National gas engine and Crompton DC generator producing 36 hp and 220 volts



NATIONAL GAS ENGINE - Mounted on substantial concrete bases and secured by large steel bolts, this is a picture of a generator that did the rounds in Sussex, finally ending up powering a tram in Eastbourne in the 1960s, but not before being used to drive machinery for the Eastbourne Aviation Company between 1911 and 1924. This generator set is virtually identical to the one that was situated in Herstmonceux Museum around 1909, identified by the concrete base footprint. The pine match-boarding and electrical controls are also near identical in layout. This was because the electrical engineer who carried out the work was the same man: Charles de Roemer.




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




Lime Park morning mist and rays of sunshine January 2017





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