Generation: The Brown Revolution (1954–7)

  • Leslie Hannah


When Sir John Hacking decided to retire from the deputy chairmanship at the end of 1953, the old CEB promotional ladder would have indicated Pask as his successor, but Central Authority members opposed this and the Minister (who made the appointment) decided to bring in new blood from outside the BEA headquarters. The appointment went to Josiah Eccles, then chairman of the Merseyside and North Wales Board. He had a first in engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast, and before nationalisation had served as the head successively of the Edinburgh and the Liverpool Corporation electricity undertakings, gaining more experience of generation design and construction than his ex-CEB predecessor and colleagues. The CEB group which still dominated the chief engineer’s department found Eccles a more difficult taskmaster and sometimes resented his presence, but he was to prove a breath of fresh air, giving top level support to those within the department who were seeking changes over a wide range of policies. The time was, moreover, now ripe for considerable rethinking: the more serious capacity problems had been overcome and steel and other materials were more freely available, as the economy generally seemed to be achieving a full postwar recovery.


Capital Cost Central Authority Technological Frontier Steam Condition High Thermal Efficiency 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    For an outline of Brown’s philosophy see F. H. S. Brown and E. S. Booth, ‘Coal and Oil Fired Power Stations’, Proceedings of the British Electrical Power Convention 1957.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    C. Harlow, ‘Power Station Performance: Policies for Development’, in Political and Economic Planning (eds) Innovation and Productivity under Nationalisation (1967) p. 62. These figures (based on maximum output of power) are not directly comparable with those in Figure 9.1 (based on kW installed), but cf. n. 4 below.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    For a critique of the capacity of competition in such markets to achieve efficient dynamic adjustment, see G. B. Richardson, The Future of the Heavy Electrical Industry, BEAMA, 1969.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Lord Citrine, Two Careers (1967) pp. 351–2.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Commission, Report on the Supply and Exports of Electrical and Allied Machinery and Plant, HCP 42, 1957.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    For an account of supply industry research see e.g. J. S. Forrest, ‘Research in the Electricity Supply Industry’, Proceedings of the British Electrical Power Convention 1952; J. S. Forrest, ‘Research Investigations of the CEA’, Nature, vol. 175, 21 May 1955.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Electricity Council 1982

Authors and Affiliations

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

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