Electricity rationing

Following on from the previous post, the electricity suppliers did give warnings where necessary. Electricity was still fairly new in 1942 and there were still Wolverton houses with no electrical outlets, and some of the village in particular were not on the grid. Gas lighting was still in use and most homes had a gas cooker.

Electricity was supplied by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Company, a private utility. The Council purchased electricity for street lighting from the comany and had no hand in electricity supply. There was relatively little drain on supply for domestic electricity – most houses had a light bulb in each room and a limited number of plug sockets. Lighting and a radio might be the sum of the demand with some electric heating in the winter months.

Nevertheless, as this notice shows, there was concern that the supply might not meet demand and war work had to have priority.


  1. Dianne

    Bryan, the East Midlands Electricity Board was created I think in 1948 when electricity was nationalised. Do you know when the EMEB offices on the Old Wolverton Road, just over the canal bridge when one walked down "the black boards" footpath, got built? My memory suggests they were of a '60s design but maybe they were a bit later. I think EMEB ceased to exist under that name in 1990 and the offices were demolished a bit later and the housing now on the site dates from about ten years ago.

  2. Bryan Dunleavy

    Yes you are right about the EMEB starting in 1948. I am reliably informed that the Old Wolverton office opened in 1968 and closed in 1999. the Electricity Board had a showroom on the Stratford Road, next to Chamberlain and Norman, I think, so that people could be impressed y the wonders of electric cookers and convert from gas. it all seems very quaint now!

  3. Dianne

    Thanks Bryan.

    Chamberlain and Norman – now that rings bells!

    My grandfather worked as an electrician in the Works and lived in Hanslope and when the family moved into a newly built council house in Hanslope in the early '30s I'm told that my grandma had the first electric cooker in the village. The Vicar had an electric kettle which kept going wrong so grandpa earned his beer money – 1 shilling a time – mending it. The alternative was to take it into a shop in Wolverton but as the price of the bus fare and mending it were the same it was easier to ask grandpa to do it 🙂

    Thanks again for all the lovely local information and memories in your blog.

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