These much ignored pieces of rural and urban furniture finally have a website of their own.
This is not the site to visit for technical information pertaining to telegraph poles. You'll find nothing about 10KVa transformers, digital telephone networking or even so much as a single volt.
This is a website celebrating the glorious everyday mundanitude of these simple silent sentinels the world over.
|from the simple...||through the interesting...||to the hieroglyphics||and the alluring|
|click the thumbnails above to view the gallerys.||more poles...|
We don't care what the wires contain either. They all carry electricity in some way be it the sparky stuff which boils your kettle, or the thinner stuff with your voice in it when you're on the phone.
Great news from Berkshire this week - the RG5 postcode to be moderately specific. RG5 6LN to be more specific and the naugahyde chair by the writing desk in the corner of the front bedroom at No. 67 Kensall Rise, RG5 6LN would be about as specific as anyone could ever ask for and likely more than our readers need. But I made up the bit of the postcode after RG5 anyway - so Reading-ish. My dad always said to me "Son, when you're in a hole - keep digging."John Smith* from RG5 couldn't tell us about this great news though until after his good wife Jane had woken from her nap. To cut a short story really long it seems they found a run of 1904 poles and sent us the pictures you see below. They can be found at Turville, near the Cobstone windmill. The poles, not John & Jane - see sentence #1.
Now, 1904 seems to be something of a lower limit for dated telegraph poles. It is NOT absolute though - see footnote. The telegraph as a system of communication would have been at its height in 1904 and whilst amplitude modulation for voice and music were demonstrated in 1900, radio was a long way from obviating the need for the telegraph - and its poles. 1904 was the heady Edwardian era and a time when the world was having to come to terms with the idea of Doncaster Rovers failure to be re-elected to the football league. This was also the year that the United States of America paid Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, $14 million for the entire territory that is New Mexico. It was only when they got home and checked that they discovered that they already owned it.
Footnote #1: I have it on good authority that these are NOT the oldest poles out there. More on this in due course. Meanwhile, enjoy John & Jane's fine Berkshire telegraph poles - they're in Buckinghamshire it turns out after all. (click to enlarge)
Footnote #2: I had a really funny joke for this post but my wife made me take it out. So just imagine something really funny and laugh along anyway if you want.
Footnote #3: Names changed to protect the innocent (until proven guilty)
Either the start of the walk or one of the poles. And one of the poles - serving suggestion, finger not included.
Campbell Brodie knows a bit about poles. Former GPO to Overhead Survey Officer for BT up there in Dunfermline Athletic Nil. According to my pre-school arithmetic levels I make that 41 years looking at telegraph poles. We owe much of our telegraphular wisdom at this here website to Campbell for sure. Anyway, he has written in for the first time in a while - prompting me to make the first post in a while... He was recently sent to do a survey to recover 3 telephone poles and says "These beauties have been up since 1910. Showing signs of decay now so they have to come down". [click to enlarge]
Any advance on 1910?
Our astute readers will have noticed that we have been rather quiet recently. The reason for this can now be made clear - The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society has upped-sticks and moved headquarters. All departments, stock, staff, stuff and our entire appreciating apparatus. Prior to this we were housed in a tranquil backwater in Mid Wales but this proved a little too boisterous for our tender hearts so we went Wester and even Midder into Wales. This valley is so deep that the sun appears only briefly around 17th June, before sinking us back into darkness again come the 25th. But the internet here is a revelation - where previously we had to type stuff in ourselves - I now phone a friend in Aberystwyth and dictate what we want to say and he does the internet thing for us. Marvellous!
May 1st means there's only about 7 weeks until our "sunrise" celebrations. But to help you celebrate May Day - where the rest of you have trees and flowers and that - here is a lovely May Pole submitted by our tub-thumping, rust gathering morris-dancing Wiltshire correspondent Dave Bennett. Coincidentally, Dave has the membership number #666 - which is that of the Prince of Darkness himself, so it is apt we post this now. The pole was spotted in North St. Wilton, Wiltshire and brought Dave back - a really long way back - to his school's pagan festivals and fertility dances. (We just had Geography and a school disco). Dave then went on to describe suffocating bondage, slow garrotting and incadescent screaming by Mrs Salter - and this, apparently, was all at the village school. Does the Daily Mail know what goes on in Wiltshire?
Happy May Day to All.
When Current Archaeology magazine published an article about our sagiest of societies back in 2015 poet Margaret Seymour found true inspiration. Her poem, reproduced here by kind permission, won first prize at the Sheringham poetry competition. So thanks to our ramblings, a myriad insulators, and the intrinsic beauty that is telegraph poles, these 152 words were selected out of all the thousands that are available and were assembled into the beautiful and unique, prize-lifting order that you see below. Congratulations and special thanks to Margaret. I've illustrated the whole occasion with a photo of a line of poles in Donegal. And some gorse. And Slieve Snaght in the background.
knows poetry when it sees it - the epic
march of metre, neat crossbar rhyme-schemes
embellished with ceramic references
to fungi, daleks, Chinese lanterns;
long lilting lines punctuated by swallows.
It's fond of folklore such as crossbars
are always on the side facing London.
It loves the drama of the telegram,
whistle and crackle of the human voice.
urgent pitter-pat of Morse,
the arcane doings of Openreach.
Its totems are the trunks of trees -
wayside gods inscribed with tribal marks
BT or GPO, plus date of last libation
of creosote. She of the high and shaky
brackets orders DO NOT CLIMB.
He of the yellow skull warns DANGER OF DEATH.
Happy the members of TPAS! For them
a road or railway is a procession
of curiosities, a document, a refuge
where ivy flourishes and kestrels perch,
a photographic pilgrimage where finally
lines of posts are enshrined as posts online.