Old facade of electric station has been preserved
THE Central Electricity Lighting Station, by St Philip's bridge, holds an important place in the city's industrial heritage.
It was from here, in August 1893, that Bristol's first public electricity supply flowed to light an Industrial And Fine Arts Exhibition being held on The Centre.
Electric lighting had been seen before, notably at the Victoria Rooms in 1863, when it was used for the very first time to illuminate a ball held in honour of the marriage of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra.
The man with the magic, Mr Phillips from Weston-super-Mare, was soon called upon again, this time for the official opening of the suspension bridge in December, 1864.
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By the time electricity and gas prices had started to equalise, Bristol set up a committee to look at the new opportunities.
After electricity had been shown to be capable of working a clock at the 1893 Exhibition, the general public got very excited.
Within a few months the company had 26 subscribers, all supplied from a new generating station on Temple Back.
There were soon 20 miles of cable and 90 street lamps and, by the turn of the century, 128 miles of cable with hundreds of private consumers.
With the coming of electric trams in 1895, George White's Tramways Company insisted on having its own generators in East Bristol and later at a newly built generating station next to George's brewery, just across the road from the Temple Back works.
As electricity became more popular so, by the turn of the century, Temple Back could no longer meet demand.
A new generating station was opened along the Feeder with another at Portishead opening in 1929.
The Good Friday Blitz of 1941, a raid which totally destroyed St Philips bridge, spelled the end for the old generating station and it was subsequently used as a store.
The brick frontage, with its ornate lettering has, thankfully, been preserved in the new office and flats development which has now replaced it.