Electrical distribution kiosk, c1900, probably by the Callender Iron Co, Falkirk.
Reason for Listing
The electrical distribution kiosk at Oak Hill Road, Seaview, erected c1900 for the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company to a design attributed to the Callender Iron Co, Falkirk, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as a rare surviving reminder of the early years of the domestic electricity industry, both nationally and on the Isle of Wight;
* Architectural interest: the ornate cast-iron design with lotus leaf capitals and cornice, volutes and fish-scale decoration, is illustrative of the high quality of industrial design of the early electricity industry;
* Intactness: the kiosk survives well with its original door, although it lacks its original street lighting fixture;
* Rarity: as an unusual, probably bespoke, design for the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company, differing in style from other designated examples and, unusually, retaining its street lighting function.
The first public electricity supply on the Isle of Wight was provided from 1899 by the Ventnor Electric Light and Power Company Ltd which was soon either renamed, or taken over by, the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company Ltd. By 1904 the company supplied electric lights for Seaview Pier and provided the majority of electrical supply on the island until nationalisation in 1947. It seems likely, therefore that this early C20 distribution kiosk (a type also known as a transformer kiosk) which was used to boost the flagging voltage at the end of a long supply feed, was erected by the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company. However, as there were a number of other early electrical suppliers, including the St Helens Electric Lighting Company (taken over by the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company in 1925), it is possible that it was erected by one of them.
The kiosk is believed to have been cast by the Callender Iron Co of Falkirk, although in form, the kiosk closely resembles an example in Derby made in 1893 by Walter MacFarlane and Company of Glasgow.
Located at the south end of Oakhill Road at Bullen Cross.
Cast iron. Square in plan with sides of approximately 1m in length and a height of 2.1m. The sides, including the door, are decorated with three panels, the top one arched. On the door, this top panel includes the inscription ‘Seaview/ electricity/ supply’ while the central panel on the sides bears a company monogram (probably enjoined letters I, O and W suggesting ownership by the Isle of Wight Light and Power Company). The rounded corners of the kiosk take the form of engaged columns (one incorporating the hinges of the door) with lotus leaf capitals; the cornice is incorporated in the tapering cap. This has volutes to the corners and between these are panels enriched with a scale pattern. Above this is a drum enriched with a chevron band and a decorated finial surmounted by a T-shaped light fitting which is not original.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.