Just a few of the reference books in our National Archives

Just a few of the reference books in our National Archives

IMPORTANT – The Museum is temporarily closed to visitors because of major engineering works taking place in the building, We are aiming to reopen part way through 2024.

In the meantime please feel free to get in touch with us via our Contacts page.

Under normal circumstances our Museum and Archives are open on the 2nd Thursday of each month, 1030 – 1200 or by appointment. We are happy to have “casual visitors” in groups of up to three – provided that you don’t have COVID symptoms – but if you have a larger group please use our Contact Form to get in touch and arrange a session where we can explore the Museum and Archive with you in more detail.

The South West Archives

Paul Hulbert showing a cable recorder's notebook in our South West Archives

Paul Hulbert showing a cable recorder’s notebook

The South West Archives contain the Minute Books and other papers of most of the pre-nationalisation electricity undertakings in the South West. It also has a fascinating range of working documents dating back up to a century. For example we have notebooks recording where cables were laid (right) and staff registers. We also have scrapbooks containing newspaper cuttings of events with an electrical connection.

This document lists the contents of the South West Archives

This is the index of the Brief Notes referred to in the main South West Archives contents document

The National Archives

This document lists the contents of the National Archive

David Hutton consulting the National Archives

David Hutton consulting the National Archive

The National Archives hold an important collection of documents relating to electricity supply in the wider United Kingdom. We have long series of reference books including Garcke’s Manuals (national directories of the electricity industry), The Electrician and Electrical Review. These were rescued from the disbanded CEGB and Electricity Council libraries. The Archives also hold equipment manufacturers’ documents and much more.

The Archives are a major source of research materials for members and others. The Society has published a range of books about the history of electricity in the South West and associated topics.

Peter Lamb and Chris Buck with some of the Historical Society's publications available from the Museum and Archives

Peter Lamb and Chris Buck with some of the Historical Society’s publications

Please contact our Senior Archivist if you have questions regarding historical facts or archival content, or if you have material that could be useful for our collections.
Peter Lamb
Email: lambpandv@btinternet.com
Postal address: 1 Fairfield Way, Backwell, Bristol BS48 3RQ
Phone: 01275 463160

Our members and guests regularly use the Archives to research topics of interest. Many of these are published as Supplements to our regular magazine Histelec News. Please follow these links to access past issues online.

The Supplements in particular cover a wide range of topics. There are biographies of the pioneers, histories of electricity supply in different locations, travels abroad. Modern and historic technologies are covered including electric transport and lighting, and there are histories of manufacturers and businesses.

We are grateful for the support of Western Power Distribution, who provide the premises for the Archive and the Museum of Electricity and give us very practical help.