Wednesday 21 February 2018

Photos shed light on electrification of our rural areas

Jerry Corbett crouching with fellow workers in the early days of the Rural Electrification Scheme. Photo: ESB Archive
Jerry Corbett crouching with fellow workers in the early days of the Rural Electrification Scheme. Photo: ESB Archive
Claire Murphy

Claire Murphy

ESB has rolled out a collection of photos and documents detailing the story of rural electrification to mark the semi-State's 90th anniversary.

The photographs, documenting the stories of when each town, village and parish was connected to the electricity network, give a glimpse of life in rural Ireland from 1929 to 1978.

Some of the photos are from private collections - such as those belonging to Jerry Corbett, who worked as a foreman of a rural gang in the early days of the Rural Electrification Scheme.

He joined ESB aged 13 in 1932 and remained with the company for 52 years. His son Tony shared some of his father's photos, which offer some real insight into the daily life of the men who worked on the scheme.

When ESB was established in 1927, only 45,000 homes had electricity, usually from a local authority or private supplier. By 1978, more than one million Irish homes and businesses had been connected.

ESB's archives would love to hear from people who have further information - visit esbarchives.ie.

An ESB electric van from the 1970s. Photo: ESB Archive
An ESB electric van from the 1970s. Photo: ESB Archive
The first computers in the accounts department of ESB in 1965. Photo: ESB Archive
The first computers in the accounts department of ESB in 1965. Photo: ESB Archive

Irish Independent

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