Herstmonceux Electricity Works - Instructions to switchboard attendant



A member of the public saw an article published in the Evening Argus 30 November 1999 edition, taking the trouble to drive from Hove, to Herstmonceux to hand deliver the wooden framed instructions he'd rescued, shown above.  Our thanks go to him for his dedication.

This was an important find.  It was a document last recorded when the Polegate (Sussex) based SEEBOARD depot library was donated to Amberley Museum, Arundel in Sussex.  However, although listed in the library documents, it had been missing for many eyars.  The curator, John Narborough, found several articles mentioning the Herstmonceux Works in SEEBOARD magazines which confirmed electricity was supplied to the village for domestic use, shops and street lighting.  

Herstmonceux had its own Cinema built at some time in the 1920's because it had an electricity supply.  Truly, this little village was ahead of its time.  Our thanks go to John for his help in piecing this archaeological puzzle together.  The text of the instructions is reproduced below.  A quality reproduction of the instructions above are to be included in a book entitled "Electricity Generation in Herstmonceux 1900 - 1936"





                                                                 February  27th  1911  



His chief duty will be to attend to the Switch Board and keep the

Village voltage correct.


2 Take readings every half hour.


3 Keep the Dynamo between 90 & 100 amperes, except when both the regulat-ing switches are on the same bar.


4 Attend to coal and water at gas plant, and draw attention of

Engineer-in-charge if tanks are empty or nearly empty.


6 While cells are on charge, he will cut out cells as they reach 2.75

the current must then be lowered at the dynamo before cutting out the next cell, if this is not done the next cell will have a false voltage.


7 When Ice Plant is running, he will carry out the special Instruct-

ions for same.


8 He must on no account leave the Engine Rooms unless he arranges for some one to take his place while he is away.


9 He will at once call the attention of the Engineer-in-charge to anything wrong or of abnormal occurrence.


10 He will be responsible that no-one enters the Engine Rooms without

a special pass, with the exception of the Staff and workmen actually employed therein.


11 He will answer telephones and bells.


Regulation of voltage.----. During the day time the voltage will be

kept between 50 & 52.  After the lights begine to go on the Village voltage is to be advanced gradually one volt to every 10 amperes until the voltage has reached 56 volts, at which voltage It is to be main-tained for the remainder of the evening.


Regulation of Dynamo.----. The normal charging rate of the accumulators is between 90 & 100 amperes, therefore unless the regulating switches are on the same bar, the current should not exceed 100 amperes. If the switches are on the same bar, the difference between charge & discharge must not exceed 100 amperes.  It is useless to try to get more out of the Dynamo if the engine is not cutting out.


The Regulating switches must only be moved by the handles.

GREAT ATTENTION is to be paid to keeping the Village Voltage and Dynamo current correct.






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


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