Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 140,679 pages of information and 227,385 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Bristol Electric Light Station

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Bristol Electric Lighting Station, photograph taken by Keith Edkins in 1982.[1]
Former power station building at Temple Back, 2019
1894. Engines and alternator at Bristol Electric Light Station.
August 1899. Engines by McIntosh, Seymour and Co.


1888 the sanitary authority applied for a provisional (site) but were advised by Mr W. H. Preece to wait until other towns had successfully demonstrated municipal electric lighting.

Eventually a site was acquired and and instructions given to Mr. Preece and Mr. Gisbert Kapp to prepare plans and specifications for the necessary works.

1893 August: The Central Electricity Lighting Station, by St Philip's Bridge, provided Bristol's first public electricity supply, initially lighting an Industrial and Fine Arts Exhibition. Private consumers were connected in the autumn of that year[2]. The station was equipped with Willans engines driving Siemens dynamos and alternators.

The demand for electric light increased rapidly, and a demand developed for power for electric motors, so the system had to expand. More and more machinery was fitted into the buildings at Temple Back until, by 1901, it was completely full, with connections totalling a potential load of over 4000 kW and a maximum recorded actual load of 2535 kW.

1899 A large new site of 9.5 acres at St. Philip's Marsh was purchased - see Avonbank Power Station[3]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/917341
  2. The Engineer 1894/05/25
  3. [1] The beginnings of electricity supply in Bristol 1889-1902 by D.G.Tucker