Archives Research Guide: Early Electricity Supply

The IET Archives holds a number of collections relating to UK electricity supply in the late 19th and 20th centuries including the records of power stations and supply companies and personal papers of individuals. 


  • Papers of Bungay Gas and Electricity Co Ltd, 1926-1948 - NAEST 036
    These papers consist of reports and accounts for the company from its foundation in 1926 to its take over by the British Electricity Authority in 1948, with legal and financial documents associated with Nationalisation.
  • Papers of Hampstead Electric Supply Company Ltd, 1898 - NAEST 038
    Prospectus, Memorandum of Association, map of area to be supplied, Report on equipment and application for preference and ordinary shares.
  • Yorkshire Electric Power Company, 1947 - NAEST 060
    Map showing borders of Yorkshire and North Western Electricity Boards, with covering letter.
  • Map of electricity supply undertakings in the North of England January 1947- NAEST 060/1
    Prior to the establishment of CEGB.
  • Coventry Corporation Electricity Works 1905-1906- NAEST 115
    5 black and white photographs showing interior of works, with switchgear, convertors and other generating equipment.
  • HMSO, HMSO/Electricity Commission, British Electricity Authority Publications, 1927-1954 - NAEST 118
    Printed reports on overhead line regulations, mainline railway electrification, central Scotland Electricity Scheme, an electricity breakdown in Blackpool, Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood in January 1939, fire risks at generating stations, British Electricity its organisation under public ownership and a programme for its development.
  • Electricity Council printed material 1973-1986- NAEST 150
    Booklets on various subjects including histories of the Electricity Supply in Great Britain; domestic appliances including microwave ovens; the use of electricity and electrical appliances in the home and kitchen; and flexes and cables.
  • Papers of Harry Stephenson Ellis MIEE MIMechE (1881-1967), 1907-1962 - NAEST 155
    Harry Stephenson Ellis was an electrical engineer whose career spanned both wars and saw him hold a number of diverse positions in the electricity supply sector throughout the United Kingdom.
  • British Grid installations 1928-1935- SC MSS 091
    Album of photographs of installations on the British Grid and elsewhere, labelled 'Record of Transmission Line Work with Messrs Kennedy and Donkin, Consulting Engineers, Westminster 1928-1935'. Views include Clyde Crossing, Yoker; Wye Crossing, Chepstow; Southampton approach; South West England blizzard damage 1933; Ribble crossing; Liverpool approach; Northern Ireland lines; Belfast Harbour power station terminal; Uhl River Scheme, Punjab; Pallivasal Hydro Electric Power scheme, Tranancore State; Neuendorf Rhine crossing near Coblenz; line in Pyrenees near Bourg Madame.
  • W J Forster Collection, 1924-1962 - SC MSS 141
    Papers and pamphlets concerning the electricity supply industry and technical aspects of electricity supply.
  • Sir Leonard Pearce Collection, 1923-1948 - SC MSS 144
    Sir Standen Leonard Pearce had a distinguished career in electrical engineering that included time as the Manager of the Corporation of Manchester,  as an advisor to The Department of Trade as head of the committee whose recommendations led to the South East Lancashire Electricity Scheme. He became Chief Engineer of the London Power company in 1926  and was heavily involved with Battersea Power station, being responsible for the engineering design and construction.  He was also responsible for the design of the new Bankside Power Station.
  • Papers of C T Melling, 1919-1998 - SC MSS 159
    Cecil Thomas Melling was a notable electrical engineer, working in electricity supply for Metropolitan-Vickers, Yorkshire Electricity Power Company,  Edmundsons Electricity Corporation, and as Borough Electrical Engineer at Luton, in 1948 was appointed Chairman of the Eastern Electricity Board, a post he was to hold for 11 years.

Keywords for searching the online catalogue         Map of the area supplied by Hampstead Electric Supply Company

  • Electricity supply
  • Power distribution
  • Central Electricity Board
  • National Grid
  • Power transmission
  • Power supply

Other resources of interest          

The IET Archives holds Garcke's Manual of Electrical Undertakings volume 1 1896 - volume 57 1959/60. Volume 5 1900-1901 is missing. You can also search the IET Archives catalogue and the Library catalogue for more collections and publications on this subject.