The Victorian Electricity Substation on Sunnyside Passage, Wimbledon
Along the wonderfully named Sunnyside Passage in Wimbledon you’ll find this curious structure at the top of the hill. It’s a Victorian Electricity Substation!
It’s probably the weirdest bit of London street furniture I’ve spotted and with good reason – it’s extremely rare!
This particularly fancy Electricity Substation is grade II listed, dating from the late 19th century.
You can find plenty of these substations across the capital. A quirky one that immediately springs to mind is the raised Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, complete with domes either side. Read more about it and other unusual green spaces here.
But this looked more like a fancy post box.
Essentially it’s a transformer, converting the high voltage power generated from a local power station into a power source more suitable for domestic use.
Examining the outside for clues revealed the name of the manufacturer; The British Electric Transformers Company Hayes Middlesex.
According to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, in 1898 Mr Arthur Berry was the Managing Engineer and by 1903 they had become a public company.
The doors are locked but you can see pictures inside from the restoration by Heritage of London Trust. They report that the transformer equipment inside dates from 1875.
So there you have it, a wonderful and rare little curiosity in SW19!
MORE LONDON INSPIRATION
Sat alongside the busy Victoria Street, Christchurch Gardens doesn’t seem that historic at first glance. However, scratch the surface and there’s plenty of stories connected to this little green space. In September 2020 the gardens reopened after an extensive 3-year refurbishment by ReardonSmith. Regrettably a......
The Hunterian Museum, one of London’s best niche museums, reopened last week. Sat within the Royal College of Surgeons on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, it charts the development of surgery and pursuit of medical knowledge through the centuries. If that sounds a bit dry, think again.......
Along Consort Road in Peckham you can admire the quaint-looking Beeston’s almshouses. As well as their charming appearance and characteristic almshouse layout, the aspect that really piqued my interest was the shield of the Girdlers’ Company. You can spot more of these in Farringdon (featured......
In early May 2023 a new basement on the eastern edge of the City opened to the public. Having previously written about the developments, I was keen to visit the Vine Street Roman Wall for a closer look. The free museum is inside Emperor House......
In Southfields, SW18, you can find a surprising and visually striking building. Today it’s private flats but it used to be a factory. The surprising thing is that it looks nothing like a stereotypical factory. It was built in 1903-4 for Frame Food, a baby......
St John and St Elizabeth Hospital in St John’s Wood might seem just like any other private hospital. However, open one door along a corridor and you’re in for a treat. You appear to have stepped into Rome! The chapel was built between 1862-3 and......
Thanks for making a recommendation list for the extended openhouse viewings this year. I always find the book and website overehelming so its great to have some help with choices. I hope you are keeping well. Jacky S
The substation has been taken away today to be restored, due to be returned in three months time. Should look very smart once done.
Thought you might like to know.
Oh great stuff! That must’ve been recent, I walked past last week! Thanks Andrew