an example of how electricity supplies developed prior
to the introduction of the National Grid, “The Old
Steam House” is a rare survivor indeed.
The building’s original architecture remains
(save for the boiler room) to show Industrial
Archaeologists in years to come how supplies were
implemented in this location. The impact of the installation upon the rural landscape has
survived almost intact for over 100 years and is as
interesting evidence of a time of change. The building remains a lasting reminder of how an enthusiastic
entrepreneur expanded his private facility, to provide
electricity to the otherwise isolated village of
Herstmonceux and for much more than just street
lighting, in true pioneering spirit. Herstmonceux
would not be complete without it.
the building survives, is almost as interesting as the
characters who occupied it. The
estate survives largely unaltered, except for extensions
to East Lodge and 1 Lime Park, and the conversion of the
Stables in the 1950's, for use by the local Rector as a
Rectory (now The Old Rectory).
The grouping of the generating station within
Lime Park is as important as the position of Lime Park
in relation to the nearby village it supplied. It is local opinion that the generation initiated by the
Baron de Roemer and carried on by his son Charles was a
Sussex first. This
however, is speculative and is the subject of ongoing
Old Steam House coal bunkers 1983
manner of questions arise from this discovery.
What became of the family von Roemer? A
whole host of interesting detail remains to be
unraveled. But, one thing is for certain, we have the frame of a
valuable jigsaw puzzle upon which to build on our
knowledge of technological achievement of days gone by
and the way in which the inhabitants of a relatively
isolated village came to terms with advances in
technology. In its own way this was a social
experiment which by the recording of the events, we are
lucky enough to be able to see today.
generation and its use by Consumers in the immediate
area would have experienced commercial fluctuations.
The changeover from D.C. supply to A.C. supply
being probably the greatest, causing its own
transitional problems concurrent with absorption of the
Enterprise into the National Grid.
gradual spread of electricity in this way heralded the
dawning of the modern age of electricity we currently
enjoy. In 1995 English
Heritage, concerned at the disappearance of evidence
of our industrial past, commissioned a Monument
Protection Programme. In 1998 Step 2 of the MPP
included The Old Steam House, along with Batemans as the
only two entries for East Sussex. Step 4 of this
Report identified The Old Steam House, recommending
protection via the planning process in accordance with
local policies. In April of 2004 thethen occupier renewed approaches to his local
authority, who were unaware of the Step 4 conclusions.
Subsequently, it was agreed that the local authority
would take an active interest in the site, with a view
to conserving local history.
is much work to be done to complete this particular
writer will appreciate any and all input, which may
assist in the recording of this find.
If you know anything of this building or can help
in any way with newspaper clippings, documents,
photographs, or personal recollection, please make
contact on +44 (0)1323-831727 or write c/o The Old Steam House, Lime Park,
Herstmonceux, E. Sussex, BN27 1RF, United Kingdom.
please see the contact page on this site for an email
We are particularly keen to obtain photographs of the
building or machinery for publication on this site.
Please help us if you can. Credit will be given
for all contributions.
Electricity Generating Works Circa. 1900 - 1936
Room | Floor
Plan | Ron
Park | Machinery
House | Argus
Supply | Roof
Construction | Rural
Supply | Sussex
Express 1913 |
Sussex CC | English
Heritage | SIAS
of Herstmonceux by Margaret Pollard