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Monday, 13 December 2010

bournemouth's museum of electricity


Bournemouth, a seaside town of old people, charity shops (and enough vintage shops to strip them bare), the big lovely modernist Boscombe pier that Anne's paid due homage at Nothing To See Here. Tucked away amid Christchurch's megalith-like Roman castle ruins (below) and bunting-festooned Tudor teashop, there's also a hauntology tourist dream: the Museum Of Electricity. 


If the looming pylon and buzzing transformers of the substation dominating the entrance (below) don't snare you, the charm of the Edwardian building (the original power station) and the exhibition inside should do the trick.


When Southern Electricity first opened it in 1981, the museum was only for those in the electricity trade, but it's been a popular, if unlikely attraction, (now owned by Scottish Power and Southern Electricity), for tourists and schools over the past couple of decades. No wonder, with strange and beautiful looking artefacts from electricity boxes, like the Victorian "Crypto" below ...


... to 50s space age era bedwarmers ...


... and just generally beautiful-looking contraptions ...


Plus a mannequin dressed up in safety gear. Photo opportunity!


Other treats to eyeball include vintage bicycles ...


... electrical goods across the decades of the 20th century - hairdryers, cookers, Betamax video recorders and TVs ...


... and a graphic design classic in the illustrated interior map of the Dungeness Power Station.


Ornate metal stair banisters lead up to the demonstration room, further rooms and a balcony. From the balcony the main room below is dominated by the great old tram, which you can also go climb into (pictured below). The interior didn't look this spectral when I took the photo though.


Museum Of Electricity, Old Power Station, Bargates, Bournemouth, open Easter-September, guided tours for groups by appointment throughout the year

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