War and Post-war Crisis

  • Leslie Hannah

Abstract

The later 1930s were a turbulent time in the history of the electricity supply industry. The pressure by senior men for collective bargaining machinery was accompanied by divisive discussion of distribution reorganisation, which threatened the status and independence of the smaller undertakings and their chief engineers. But these problems were dwarfed in the minds of the Government, and increasingly in the minds of the undertakings’ senior men, by the growing threat of war.1 Since 1936, war preparations had been quietly advancing in most undertakings and in 1938 they were intensified. The Grid control centres had been practising routines for the operation of the Grid under air attack, and emergency control centres had been established to ensure continuity of supplies if the Grid controls were hit. Encouraged by the Government, the undertakings had built bomb shelters for staff and trained them in firefighting to deal with incendiary bombs. They had also agreed that the CEB should organise thirteen spare equipment stores in country districts remote from likely bombing targets. It was felt that the Grid itself would provide a means of ‘pooling’ generating sets in war conditions, so the equipment mainly consisted of spare switchgear and of transformers designed for rapid erection and speedy transport. There were also spares for Grid lines, with pylons designed for erection on base plates with guy-ropes (without the need to dig holes) for rapid restoration of Grid supplies.2

Keywords

Depression Europe Cadmium Steam Shipping 

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Notes on the Text

  1. 1.
    On the general background to the Second World War, the official civil histories are useful, see especially W. K. Hancock and M. Gowing, The British War Economy (1949);Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Hannah
    • 1
  1. 1.Emmanuel CollegeCambridgeUK

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