Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 March 2019
The ‘Super Grid’ network of high-voltage power lines transformed the landscapes of England and southern Scotland in the 1950s. This article examines debates over the siting of pylons, with a focus on the public inquiries into the proposed lines across the Pennines in Lancashire. It brings together archives on electrification from the newly nationalised British Electricity Authority, preservationist groups and local government to reveal deeper insights into processes of local and national decision-making about and popular attitudes to the rural landscape. It uncovers how the public inquiries exposed tensions and differences about the definition of amenity, not just between the electricity industry and preservationists, but also between interests representing urban industrial districts and the National Parks, northern and southern England, and within the preservationist movement. The conflicts over pylons and amenity shows how narratives of landscape preservation were contested and riven with class, region and economic differences in the postwar period.
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5 TNA POWE 14/1015, 1017, minutes of public inquiry into the 275 kV line between Blackstone Edge and Carrington/Pennington, 2nd November 1954; TNA POWE 14/1022, report of the public inquiry, 2nd November 1954; MERL C/1/62/90, Stalybridge-Penwortham/Monk Fryston 275 kV line, public inquiry, Oldham, 22nd September 1959.
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82 MERL C/1/62/90, draft statement by P. A. Barnes at the public inquiry, Town Hall Oldham, 22nd September 1959.
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