Aerial picture taken 100 years ago

By John Hills

Our Newhaven pictured here in 1920, this is believed to be one of the first aerial pictures of the town, showing a lot of the buildings we have lost in the past 100 years.

Most of the houses and business properties back in 1920 were supplied by gas for cooking and lighting, except for one! The only house connected to electricity at that time was a house in Western Road, which is just to the left of a white flag pole shaped like a cross at bottom centre of picture 2. This property was connected to the D.C. electricity from the London & Brighton Railway Company supply on the East Quay. The cable ran under-water across the river, buried in the mud from the East Quay to the West Quay and emerged just south of the old coal wharf, from there it was suspended between white poles on its way up to Western Road.

In the second picture (bottom right) you can just make out two of the white poles one either side of the old boys/secondary school in Bay Vue and a third just left of the house it served. 

Later on in the 1920's quite a few properties in the town had their electricity supply from the railways electricity supply on the East Quay. Early in 1930 Newhaven had its own power station built in New Road, the main grid nationwide grid supply arriving a lot later in the 1940's.

The main electrification of the town started in the early 1930's, with the  bulk of the infrastructure of the network work being carried out by the Newhaven & Seaford Electricity Supply Company which was based in Claremont Road, Seaford.

Initially each house was allowed 3, ceiling lighting points and 1, 15amp power socket usually fitted in the kitchen.

The very last property in the town connected to 220v D.C. supply from the railway network, was the Ark Inn on West Quay. This was finally converted to the standard 240volt A.C. supply in the late 1960's, by a local firm H. J. Hills who previously worked for the Newhaven & Seaford E. S. C. installing H. V. mains cables locally.    

Both pictures are clickable if you wish to see them in greater detailed.

Photo:Newhaven 1920 from the air

Newhaven 1920 from the air

picture 1.

Photo:Clip from main picture

Clip from main picture

Picture 2.

This page was added by John Hills on 02/05/2020.
Comments about this page

i'm guessing the house in Western Road connected to the harbour electricity was the Harbour Master's house.

Yes you are correct it was the Harbour Master's house, Rob.

John  --  Editor

By Rob Patten
On 07/05/2020

My late father, Len Patten the lifeboat coxswain, "found" a DC supply leading to the old lifeboat house in the 80s when he was clearing a blocked drain with a crowbar. According to the guys having tea in workshop next door, there was a flash, a bang, and the lights dimmed. They went outside to find Len looking a bit dazed with a melted tip to the crowbar. Luckily he was standing in puddle by the drain with his lifeboat wellies on which had very thick soles. The workshop crew subsequently mounted the end of the crowbar on a plaque and presented it to him. 

That's right Rob the Lifeboat House electrical supply was originally from the Railway Companies DC supply.

At the time the Lifeboat House was converted to a three phase AC supply, a bank of AC/DC rectifier's were also installed to enable the 220volt DC powered recovery winch to still operate.

John -- Editor

By Rob Patten
On 08/05/2020

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