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.
Being the important person that I am (in the world of telegraph poles), I occasionally get visits from passing royalty. Such was the case last Tuesday when the contractors (and their lorry) from Carillion dropped in for a cup of finest Welsh tea and a slice of my wife's exquisite coffee and walnut cake. Agent X* and Agent Y* were on a skiving mission before meandering their way back to their depot somewhere over the border in the badlands of England.
Anyway, as well as the scrumptious bag of ceramic booty (see right) that they handed over as payment for said tea and cake, they also told me of the fabled lost pole of Bala Leisure Centre. A pole so laden with cross-spars and so bristling with an enormous double-sided bounty of ceramic insulators it must surely rank as the Jason's Golden Fleece of the telegraph pole enthusiasts world.
It is said that those (enthusiasts) who gaze upon its glory are smitten for all time and spend the remainder of their days wearing fur-edged outdoor coats whilst wandering the lanes trying to re-capture the moment of that first glance. I pressed my telegraphic friends for more information but they were more insterested in Everton football club and an ashtray for their fags. These men had seen this pole and yet were somehow emotionally unperturbed.
As soon as I had waved them off and watched their telegraph pole truck disappear over the horizon I dashed into the house for my ordnance survey map of Bala and also for my trusted copy of the Gazetteers field guide to the telegraph poles of Great Britain and Ireland. Oh where is Anneka Rice when you need her? Watch this space....
*Not their real names
Martin Tapsell sent us this photograph of a favoured telephone pole in a quiet corner of Water Street in Deal, Kent. Whilst not bristling with ceramics, like many favourite poles, these Maypole-esque highly strung affairs are always a handsome find in suburbia. And they are usually popular among the dove and pigeon fraternity too (for some reason).
Deal, of course, is famous for its Timeball tower and is hence synonymous with telegraph poles and the transmission of the Greenwich Time Signal - mostly to passing ships (and Radio 4). The naval yard at Deal was once at the end of a long chain of telegraph stations stretching all the way from the Admiralty in London. To celebrate this history, Deal has a street called Telegraph Road. Perhaps we should think about moving there.
Like Martin tells us in his email, everywhere now, Telecom engineers seem to be busy burying wires, cables and fibre-optics. So take the chance now to get out there and photograph these poles while they're still part of our urban street furniture.Timeball photo courtesy of Dave Patten
Join the army.
Travel the world.
Meet interesting, exotic people...
and kill them.
Or... if you're a Royal Signals Engineer, erect telegraph poles all across their land.
Ex R. Sigs squaddie, and even ex-er GPO Engineering apprentice, Johnny Marsden has sent me some photos from his life up an army telegraph pole. Johnny, who lives considerably less than a million miles from me and has a V8 landrover he'd like help with, tells me he particularly loved the pole work whilst in the services. He also says that he got to play with the full spectrum of PLOH & UG, from open copper to Fibre Optics*1.
Clockwise from top left:
1. All in a day's work for a TeleMech in Borneo;
2. A messy pole in Romania, but as a world travelled ex-R.Sigs squaddie Johnny says he has seen and worked on much worse.
3. Cyprus WSBA, jointing in 88mH Loading Coils to an SSAC as part of a ~14 mile mixed cable route that was Loaded & Balanced between Episkopi & Akrotiri.
*1 Will no doubt mean something to our Honorary Technical Advisor, Keith S****.
Coming across a sick, broken or otherwise ailing telegraph pole always brings out the Samaritan in me. This latest pole (see previous post) was no different. Into my workshop for a bit of TLC wherein the application of a modicum of sawing, wire-brushing, hammering and swearing noises means they're all better now.
I have to say though, I haven't got many of these brown ceramics and they're a bit of a bugger* to remove from their pegs. Despite my inventiveness with some sticky roofing felt which I used to supplement my grip together with a plumber's wrench tool. These had to be cleaned up in situ.
Anyway, when you can take your eyes off my amazing lawn in the bottom photograph (no chemicals added) you can see the finished arms wood replete with shiny telegraphic furniture. I have a cunning plan for making a desk ornament out of this one. Watch this space.
* for want of a better word