Academic shapes national project on history of the electricity supply industry

Dr Sally Horrocks from our School of History, Politics and International Relations has helped to shape a national project examining the inside story of the British power industry.

The Life Electric: Oral Histories from the UK Electricity Supply Industry took place at the British Library on 19 October to mark the completion of a major oral history project that has collected interviews with people who worked in and around the industry from the 1940s to the present.

Dr Horrocks has been academic advisor to the project since its inception and was one of the speakers.

Established in 2012, An Oral History of the Electricity Supply Industry in the UK is a unique collection of 56 interviews and comprises 530 hours of audio recordings and 3 on-location videos at key industry sites. Interviewees came from across the industry, including  former Ministers of Energy alongside power station managers, industrial relations and legal experts, operational and industrial staff and power station designers. 

The recordings capture the development and operation of the industry in Britain through the life stories of those involved.  They uncover their experiences of major changes and dramatic events such as the great storm of 1987 alongside the humdrum details of day-to-day operations and the challenges for home life of working in an industry that operated 24/7.

Dr Horrocks said: “This has been a fantastic project to be involved with and it is a huge privilege to have worked with a great team to bring it to fruition.  We have already had lots of positive feedback from researchers who have used the interviews and I look forward to working more with them myself in the future.”

All open interviews from the project can be listened to on British Library Sounds. An up-to-date listing of all the interviews can be found by searching the Sound & Moving Image Catalogue with the collection reference number C1495.