This is an article taken from the December Edition of The Fisherton Informer and written by John Abbott. Year-long subscriptions are now available for the popular publication, details are available by emailing email@example.com.
Copies can also be purchased from the History Book Shop (by the Fisherton Mill). The shop will be open on Wednesday 2nd from 10 am and then Tuesday to Saturday 10 am – 4 pm up to Christmas.
The first building (the Town Mill former ‘grist’ and ‘snuff’ mill, one of four Bishop’s Mills between Stratford and Salisbury) was purchased in 1894. Work started on the new building now ‘The Bishops Mill’ pub and restaurant almost immediately.
First customers received electricity from a DC supply from batteries charged by a turbine, set low down in the tailrace of the mill building and soon after supplemented by power from steam-driven generators.
In 1898 many of the commercial premises in Fisherton Street, High Street and Blue Boar Row were among the first customers to receive electricity from the new Salisbury Electric Light and Supply Company. The Hospital was connected early on and bought a new X-Ray machine to connect to the new supply. The original output from the power station would have been about enough to power one or two modern all-electric houses.
As the company expanded, it’s directors Mr Woodrow, Mr Gramshaw and Mr Hammick issued various share offers to raise more capital for expansion, one of the notable investors was the Salisbury Gas Company – probably hedging it’s bets on the new rival stealing a share of the market. At one stage they joined a national campaign to give people ‘free wiring’, this worked well it was so successful that it nearly broke the company.
The company also provided electricity and equipment for Salisbury’s first major street lighting programme in 1939. By the ’30s and ’40’s the company joined a consortium of local electricity producers and was known as ‘Wessex Electric’, soon demand increased and Salisbury was producing power from its local station for the National Grid this continued until it’s closure in 1963, followed by the redevelopment of The Maltings area.