Late Norman Leckhamstead
Down the Aisle

The Power of the Church

Leckhamstead church with overhead lines

The Monday Photo

You might think that the electrical wires spoil this photo, but they are the reason I’m showing you this shot.

By the way, this is the 13th Century West tower of St Mary’s Church, Leckhamstead, and yes, that’s a genuine 12th Century Norman window. It was most likely the West window of the church before they built the tower.

But you might not have noticed the wires. We take electricity for granted these days and expect to see it everywhere; it’s a surprise if a church or other old building does not have it.

But before the Second World War it was a different story. In the mid to late 1930s only half of all houses were wired for electricity, though two thirds of rural dwellings had a mains supply. The majority of farms were not linked to the mains at all.

After the war ended, the Government took steps to improve agricultural production, and one of these steps would be rural electrification. It would take time to achieve, and the majority of farms did not get a mains supply until some time between 1950 and 1970.

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Leckhamstead is not exactly a remote village so it would have most likely got electricity to its farms fairly early in this process, if it wasn’t connected before the war.

While most towns and villages were converted to underground cables, Leckhamstead retains it’s overhead lines. I expect that’s because the village is spread out and there are relatively few buildings, making it not worth doing.

You might have noticed remains of brackets and insulators on churches or other buildings, left over from when the supply went underground, the overhead lines and the wires that took power into the church now gone.

Follow the link to find out more about St Mary’s church. It’s worth a visit.

This post's photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

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