We recently received a number of photographs and slides from the family of Roy Briggs, who was a member of the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE), and subsequently the IET, until his death in 2017. These images, likely taken by Briggs, show the installation and maintenance of electrical substations from the 1960s until the early 1990s.
We also received two Safety Rules manuals that Roy Briggs received during his time as Third Assistant Engineer with the East Midlands Electricity Board (EMEB). These manuals provided engineers with the safety guidelines when working with high, medium, and low voltage equipment, and indicated the qualification of an individual engineer. Briggs’ safety manuals show that in four years, from 1962 to 1966, he progressed from General Assistant to Third Assistant Engineer.
Moreover, these safety manuals document past safety techniques. Most noticeably, in the fifth edition from 1971, three methods are shown to provide artificial respiration to someone who has suffered from electric shock, including the mouth-to-mouth method, the Holger Nielsen method, and the Silvester Method. Although mouth-to-mouth is still used and promoted today, the Holger Nielsen and Silvester method has been replaced with modern CPR techniques. These safety manuals provide insight into the developments in first aid techniques and safety in the workplace.
What was the East Midlands Electricity Board (EMEB)?
The Electricity Act 1947 nationalised the electricity supply industry throughout Great Britain. The Act came into force on April 1st 1948 and created individual Area Electricity Boards replacing the near 600 separate electricity supply organisations. These boards were responsible for the distribution and supply of electricity in their area generated by the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB).
One of these electricity boards was the East Midlands Electricity Board (EMEB). In its initial years, the EMEB controlled the supply of electricity to Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Rutland and parts of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, the Soke of Peterborough, Staffordshire, and Warwickshire. The EMEB supply area would change throughout its existence. In 1998 the EMEB was sold to Powergen (E.ON UK) after electricity supply was privatised in the UK during the 1990s.
What is in the collection?
The collection includes safety guidelines for EMEB engineers who worked on substations, photographs and slides spanning Briggs career over a 20 year period, and slides showing the changes in electrical equipment. These records will appeal to those interested in the history of electricity supply in Great Britain during the period of post nationalisation.
This collection (UK0108 NAEST 234/12 and 14) can be consulted in the IET Archives by appointment.
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