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...