Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Edison's first public electricity generation station

From Graces Guide

1882 Thomas Edison designed (what has been claimed to be) the world's first public steam-powered electricity generating station to light the lamps on Holborn Viaduct. As part of Edison's approach to electricity distribution, it generated and supplied direct current (DC).

As the power plant was not part of a licenced electricity supplier, Edison did not have permission to dig up the roads to lay the cables but under Holborn Viaduct there were large service tunnels, which avoided the need to excavate the roads[1]

Although originally agreed to operate for 3 months (without charge to the City), the operating period was later extended (for a price equivalent to that of the gas lighting which had been displaced).

Edison’s power station in Pearl Street New York followed some months later.

1886 The station on Holborn Viaduct was shut down


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Early electricity supplies in London [1]
  • Engineering Timelines [2]
  • The early days of the power station industry, 1939 [3]