The North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board (1943–60)

  • Leslie Hannah


At the opposite end of the spectrum of scale, facing different problems of strategic decision making (but ones which proved no less challenging for all their smallness), was the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board, the only British electricity undertaking which remained independent of the BEA after nationalisation. The North of Scotland, with its sparse population, had always presented serious problems for electrical development, and difficulties had been encountered in exploiting its one potential natural advantage: the availability of sources of hydro-electric power. Some hydro-electric schemes had been developed earlier in the century, but the hydrological conditions were much less favourable than in many countries. These natural handicaps had, however, been artificially accentuated in the 1930s by opposition from landed and sporting interests, who wanted to preserve the Highland wilderness, and by coal-owners and coal-miners, who resented the potential competition and lobbied against the legislation required to establish hydro-electric schemes. Six hydro-electric development bills had been rejected by Parliament since 1929.


Steam Generation National Grid Coal Price Scottish Electricity Social Clause 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Sir Norman Chester, The Nationalisation of British Industry 1945–1951 (1975) pp. 431–3; see also correspondence and minutes in PRO POWE 38/27.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For their views see e.g. A. E. MacColl, ‘Hydro-Electric Development in Scotland’, Transactions of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, 1946;Google Scholar
  3. A. A. Fulton, ‘Civil Engineering Aspects of Hydro-Electric Development in Scotland’, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1952):Google Scholar
  4. T. Lawrie, ‘Highland Water Power: The Development of the North of Scotland Hydro-Electric Board’, Proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, vol. 103, part A, 1956;Google Scholar
  5. C. L. C. Allan, ‘Hydro-Electric Power Stations for Peak Loads’, Electrical Review, 28 December 1956, pp. 1169–74.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Scottish Development Department, Hydro-Electric Schemes (1963) p. 20.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See, generally, G. McCrone, Scotland’s Economic Progress 1951–60, 1965.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leslie Hannah
    • 1
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsUK

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