The Old Substation

The Old Substation The Old Substation: a Major Storage facility. See . It contains things of beauty that may well be useful.

The Old Substation was built by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Company (NELPCo) in early 1939. In the 1990's, East Midlands Electricity (successors to NELPCo) de-commissioned the building's transforming/distribution equiment, replacing its functions with the contents of a standard 2-3 metre glass fibre humming cube that sits on the adjacent 20ft square of land NELPCo had leased since 192

The Old Substation was built by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Company (NELPCo) in early 1939. In the 1990's, East Midlands Electricity (successors to NELPCo) de-commissioned the building's transforming/distribution equiment, replacing its functions with the contents of a standard 2-3 metre glass fibre humming cube that sits on the adjacent 20ft square of land NELPCo had leased since 192

Operating as usual

Doorstep tribute?There's a small wild geranium growing under the half-door, reported the curator the other day and with ...
29/05/2021

Doorstep tribute?

There's a small wild geranium growing under the half-door, reported the curator the other day and with a photo.
Ragged green/red leaves and small pink flowers

The Old Substation Alley leads from Bushfield School to Stacey Avenue. It's on a popular walking route to and from the school

By mid morning the next day two flower heads had been laid next to the pink flowered plant, an orange poppy and a purple something-or-other.
Later that afternoon, after school turn out, they remained where they were but did look a little tweaked or adjusted.
A wonder.

Well, fancy. The curator has discovered The Old Substation listed on what calls itself a museum listing website.There ar...
23/05/2021

Well, fancy. The curator has discovered The Old Substation listed on what calls itself a museum listing website.
There are no images in their re-postings, but plenty of words.
Many of the curator's tales have been harvested from fellow Facebook posts to this*.
Hmm, this could get seriously recursive once I post the web addresses of a couple of pages at Gluseum and then they do another web-scrape...
I'll put up a couple of screenshots first, with the URLs in the descriptions.

A Google site search of Gluseum does show some dozen or so images yet clicking through any of the images always returns to this first linked page with nowt but harvested text/blog:
.

A few of their other pages mention The Old Substation in their category of "Other Museums", not "Local Museums".
For instance: .

Well, either the beginnings of a useful art/history resource,
in which case the curator is flattered,
or something else entirely...

*[edit, some 30mins later: Just found this: . In many ways FindGlocal closely resembles Gluseum, functionally if not visually.
Amazing what can be done with machinery these days...]

How did the design of the window of a substation in Greater Manchester get to be pasted on the virtual windows of The Ol...
23/05/2021

How did the design of the window of a substation in Greater Manchester get to be pasted on the virtual windows of The Old Substation in Wolverton, MK?

Recently the curator wrote that for some weeks now, they had been considering brickwork & window restoration, door refur...
22/05/2021

Recently the curator wrote that for some weeks now, they had been considering brickwork & window restoration, door refurbishment and possible colour schemes. They said any proposal would first have to obtain relevant official approvals, and that some inspiration had been gathered from a sibling building in Fenny Stratford that retains its original Crittall metal windows, images of which have been used here in patial simulation.
The curator adds that further ideas have been seeded by a photo posted to the Facebook group "Vintage mains plugs and electrical curiosities" of a boldly decorated metal window frame on a substation that was likely in the Manchester area.
Sparks flew...

[Duplicate posting with images better attached]Seen in "Fingerpost signs and antiquated street furniture", shared from "...
22/05/2021

[Duplicate posting with images better attached]
Seen in "Fingerpost signs and antiquated street furniture", shared from "Vintage mains plugs and electrical curiosities".
The original poster and photographer, Russell Atkinson, wrote: "This is a boarded up old Electricity sub station window. It would have looked brilliant 80 years ago."
I believe this substation to be in the Manchester area.
Now this is the way to do windows!
See the comments for some redrawings that could possibly lead to manufacture of similar duplicates for a local installation...

For some weeks now, the curator has been considering brickwork & window restoration, door refurbishment and possible col...
22/05/2021

For some weeks now, the curator has been considering brickwork & window restoration, door refurbishment and possible colour schemes. (In reality any proposal would first have sought relevant official approvals.)
Some glazing inspiration had been gathered from a sibling building on a gated site in Fenny Stratford. It retains its original Crittall metal windows, images of which have been reused here in a simulation.

Seen in "Fingerpost signs and antiquated street furniture", shared from "Vintage mains plugs and electrical curiosities"...
22/05/2021

Seen in "Fingerpost signs and antiquated street furniture", shared from "Vintage mains plugs and electrical curiosities".

The original poster and photographer, Russell Atkinson, added: "This is a boarded up old Electricity sub station window. It would have looked brilliant 80 years ago."
I suspect this substation is in the Manchester area.

Now this is the way to do windows!
See the comments for some redrawings that could possibly lead to manufacture of similar duplicates for a local installation...

Seen in "Fingerpost signs and antiquated street furniture", shared from "Vintage mains plugs and electrical curiosities".

The original poster and photographer, Russell Atkinson, added: "This is a boarded up old Electricity sub station window. It would have looked brilliant 80 years ago."
I suspect this substation is in the Manchester area.

Now this is the way to do windows!
See the comments for some redrawings that could possibly lead to manufacture of similar duplicates for a local installation...

This afternoon, while considering the construction of the substation doors, the curator learned a new word - astragal.Wi...
03/05/2021

This afternoon, while considering the construction of the substation doors, the curator learned a new word - astragal.
Wikipedia tells that an
"astragal is commonly used to seal between a pair of doors"
and that
"the astragal closes the clearance gap created by bevels on one or both mating doors, and helps deaden sound.
The vertical member (molding) attaches to a stile on one of a pair of either sliding or swinging doors, against which the other door seals when closed."

The curator is recording images of the building as guidance in the planning of restoration works.Several courses of faci...
02/05/2021

The curator is recording images of the building as guidance in the planning of restoration works.
Several courses of facing brickwork, in the parapet wall mostly, have been damaged by frost action. This is likely due to the wrong type of mortar having been used, that impeded normal moisture migration through the brick. When damper they're more susceptible to splitting when frozen. The wall tops require taking apart and rebuilding.
The flat roof membrane also needs replacement.
We hope that both jobs can be undertaken at the same time.

3000875**
28/04/21 15:04:34

The curator is recording images of the building as guidance in the planning of restoration works.
Several courses of facing brickwork, in the parapet wall mostly, have been damaged by frost action. This is likely due to the wrong type of mortar having been used, that impeded normal moisture migration through the brick. When damper they're more susceptible to splitting when frozen. The wall tops require taking apart and rebuilding.
The flat roof membrane also needs replacement.
We hope that both jobs can be undertaken at the same time.

3000875**
28/04/21 15:04:34

The curator returned to the building this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised by these offerings on the doorstep.Erm,...
28/03/2021

The curator returned to the building this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised by these offerings on the doorstep.
Erm, admission: the door paintwork in the image has been airbrushed some.

3000100
28/03/21 17:59:58

The curator returned to the building this afternoon and was pleasantly surprised by these offerings on the doorstep.
Erm, admission: the door paintwork in the image has been airbrushed some.

3000100
28/03/21 17:59:58

[via Major Storage]
08/05/2020

[via Major Storage]

The curator advises that several large sash windows have been de-archived within The Old Substation. They were originally salvaged from the nearby Bushfield school when the west side glazing was 'upgraded' several years ago.
Major Storage is making them available to Iain Talbot for use in the new office/storage facility he is constructing to the rear of The Old School in (where-else but) Old Wolverton: .

Plans are being laid.Merely for roof refurbishment, planet earth isn't on this list.Below is is a recent draft of the in...
30/01/2020

Plans are being laid.
Merely for roof refurbishment, planet earth isn't on this list.
Below is is a recent draft of the inside front elevation. Am working out how to better indicate the side walls and, crucially, the roof, roof membrane (well, at least the flashing line), and the rest of the parapet wall.
Oh, as this is a hash jpg of the PDF/Illustrator file I'm working on. Some details may not read well in this format/presentation size.
Informed comments welcomed.

I could be better at telling the story here of The Old Substation. Until I'm doing it better, please bear with.This pict...
30/01/2020

I could be better at telling the story here of The Old Substation. Until I'm doing it better, please bear with.
This picture, shows the NE corner and the replacement 2 1/2 metre glass fibre cube that does now what a 5.5 x 9 x 3.5 metre brick building couldn't.
Since I took the pic, the lovely railings were replaced by lattice fence.
Oh, of course, here's a recent Google InstantStreetView: . Assuming many readers may know how to navigate the interface, now you know where this is (Wolverton. England), and which way is north, and etc.

10/10/2015

Earlier this year Western Power Distribution
(who now also manage electricity supply in Wolverton and beyond)
renewed the "Electricity - Danger of Death" notices
on all of _their_ substations.
This activity apparently necessitated removal
of the Powernet signs from _our_ doors.
No fair!
A small competition will be established soon for the creation of similar looking signs to grace our portals...

15th September 2014.--------crossed out--------"KriStY x x WiKtOA(sp?)"--------crossed out--------
15/09/2014

15th September 2014.
--------crossed out--------
"KriStY x x WiKtOA(sp?)"
--------crossed out--------

A little shock horror this afternoon.We have a little dry (or wet?) rot! Waaah!It's mostly above and to the left of the ...
05/08/2014

A little shock horror this afternoon.
We have a little dry (or wet?) rot! Waaah!
It's mostly above and to the left of the door frame (viewed from outside) and has also touched the tops of a couple of timbers standing behind the left 'window'.
Upon a quick Google-based reading, it seems that sufficient appropriate ventilation is the key to managing/coping with the infestation. Have already begun to put into hand.
I really, really need to get the piano out of there...
In picture can easily see fungal white patches over door frame. Eek!
Also down upper right hand side of frame. (A bit hidden by white tubes.)
Lines of mycelium(?) growth in corner of ceiling.

Major Storage got a bit of a shock earlier this evening. He left me a note. Let me tell the story. He was in The Old Sub...
03/01/2013

Major Storage got a bit of a shock earlier this evening. He left me a note. Let me tell the story. He was in The Old Substation getting things to help out Jessica Rost's "Crashed Spaceship! Crashed Spaceship! And it's in our school field!" project (OK, I made up the name, but now you have an idea what it's about). The Major found a roll of orange plastic netting, 20 road pins and two rolls of "Caution Caution Electric Cable Below" tape. [To stave off cries of "What?" & "How?", I will remind you: this is Major Storage in The Old Substation.] The major heard a noise and turned around. He had the foresight to whip out his phone and photograph this strange tentacled sac-like thing spread out across the floor near his gloves. These are his pictures.

Major Storage got a bit of a shock earlier this evening. He left me a note. Let me tell the story. He was in The Old Substation getting things to help out Jessica Rost's "Crashed Spaceship! Crashed Spaceship! And it's in our school field!" project (OK, I made up the name, but now you have an idea what it's about). The Major found a roll of orange plastic netting, 20 road pins and two rolls of "Caution Caution Electric Cable Below" tape. [To stave off cries of "What?" & "How?", I will remind you: this is Major Storage in The Old Substation.] The major heard a noise and turned around. He had the foresight to whip out his phone and photograph this strange tentacled sac-like thing spread out across the floor near his gloves. These are his pictures.

featuring some bicycles & tricycles from The Old Substation collection of Major Storage together with the piano accordio...
18/12/2012

featuring some bicycles & tricycles from The Old Substation collection of Major Storage together with the piano accordion based one-man-band that is Mike Banana.

(Does my head look big in this?)

The Chain Reaction, MK Theatre District, 16 December 2012

The nearest NELPCo (Northampton Electric Light and Power Company) 'tombstone' cable marker to The Old Substation. It's a...
16/10/2012

The nearest NELPCo (Northampton Electric Light and Power Company) 'tombstone' cable marker to The Old Substation. It's accross Radcliffe Street (or Stacey Avenue if you must) from the Bushfield School/Substation alley, on the side of the garden wall of 47 Victoria Street.

Oscar the cat lives almost opposite The Old Substation. This is his back alley. When any of the Major's staff are workin...
10/08/2012

Oscar the cat lives almost opposite The Old Substation. This is his back alley. When any of the Major's staff are working in the building with the door open, a small chipboard sheet is placed accross the threshold to prevent Oscar (or nosy humans) from getting inside. It's called the cat flap. (By just the one member of the staff, obviously.) A photo of Oscar has been used by that staff memeber as their Facebook profile picture. Some viewers have denied Oscar's substation alley status saying he looked stuffed. This new picture of Oscar was taken on Thursday morning (whilst the tricycles were being exercised), with the intention of proving his real live existance once and for all to the self-proclaimed sceptics. It may not have worked. Oscar now looks like, not a quadraped, but a biped, and a strange one at that. Maybe this impression is to honour the Mars rover. There is another shot, taken just before, seemingly while he was getting the hang of the balancing.

Oscar the cat lives almost opposite The Old Substation. This is his back alley. When any of the Major's staff are working in the building with the door open, a small chipboard sheet is placed accross the threshold to prevent Oscar (or nosy humans) from getting inside. It's called the cat flap. (By just the one member of the staff, obviously.) A photo of Oscar has been used by that staff memeber as their Facebook profile picture. Some viewers have denied Oscar's substation alley status saying he looked stuffed. This new picture of Oscar was taken on Thursday morning (whilst the tricycles were being exercised), with the intention of proving his real live existance once and for all to the self-proclaimed sceptics. It may not have worked. Oscar now looks like, not a quadraped, but a biped, and a strange one at that. Maybe this impression is to honour the Mars rover. There is another shot, taken just before, seemingly while he was getting the hang of the balancing.

10/08/2012

Now a part of the empire of Major Storage, there's a brief recent history of the building at the blog page above.

The Old Substation's cover photo
27/06/2012

The Old Substation's cover photo

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Milton Keynes
PROBABLY MK12 5DN

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Our Story

The Old Substation was built in early 1939 by the Northampton Electric Light and Power Company (NELPCo). After turning on south Northants and north Bucks, they piped the demon electric to Wolverton in about 1926. It’s in Milton Keynes, if you’re wondering. In the 30’s, as the town expanded south up Stacey Avenue and beyond, future demand was projected to be greater than the capacity of the original equipment installed. The leased 20ft square, next to the alley leading to what is now Bushfield School, wasn’t large enough. In 1938 NELPCo bought not only the little plot, but also another 30ft length. As far as I know, The Old Substation building was constructed, fitted out and brought into service during 1939. It was originally glazed, probably with Crittal metal framed windows. There are at least two siblings dotted about Milton Keynes. One in Bradville behind Halley’s Comet pub: . There’s another in Fenny Stratford which, when visited a while back, had retained the original windows. Being on a secure-at-night site probably helped. Presently it’s not only an ATS depot but also has has some additional major transformer gear: . I understand the site to also have been a NELPCo/EMEB (East Midlands Electricity Board) depot. The building to the right may have been offices/stores/canteen. In the 1990's, East Midlands Electricity (NELPCo’s successors) de-commissioned the transforming/distribution equipment, replacing its with a standard 2 1/2 metre glass fibre cube-that-hums sitting on the adjacent plot. There are other stories, including that of the absent padlock, in the why and the how, but I was able to buy The Old Substation from Powergen (successors to EME) in early 2004. That Christmas I constructed a mezzanine floor in the right-hand half. In the 4ft space under this floor now live a number of tricycles. The ceiling is over 12ft, what would you do with the volume? On the mezzanine, and elsewhere, are stored a lot of things, largely items of household use. (A phrase used in the planning permission approval.) Nowadays some would be described as Retro. Your humble curator considers this older stuff a celebration of mid-20th century domestic life. The interior can give the appearance of degrees of chaos, but there are often plans afoot...

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