Catalogue description ARCHIVE OF SEEBOARD plc

This record is held by East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO)

Details of SEB
Reference: SEB

Summary of contents


SEB/1 The London and Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority


SEB/1/1 Minutes of the authority; 1925-1948


SEB/2 The South Eastern Electricity Board


SEB/2/1 Board minutes; 1948-1990


SEB/2/2 Attendance register; 1963-1969


SEB/2/3 Notes of Management Committee meetings; 1950-1970


SEB/2/4 Minutes of the Chairman's meetings; 1970-1983


SEB/2/5 Notes of District Managers' meetings; 1968-1985


SEB/2/6 Minutes of the Suggestion Scheme Committee; 1964-1970


SEB/2/7 Annual reports; 1949-1989


SEB/2/8 Staff magazine Seeboard; 1948-1988


SEB/2/9 Special edition newspapers; 1987-1988


SEB/2/10 South Eastern Area Joint Co-ordinating Council Health and Safety Committee minutes; 1982-1986


SEB/2/11 Register of decisions of the Board; 1953


SEB/2/12 Staff manuals; 1950s


SEB/2/13 South Eastern Electricity Manual Workers' Benevolent Society General Committee minutes; 1957-1976


SEB/2/14 South Eastern Electricity Manual Workers' Benevolent Society General Standing sub-committee minutes; 1957-1982


SEB/2/15 Summary Board minutes; 1948-1990


SEB/3 Seeboard plc


SEB/3/1 Number not used


SEB/3/2 Annual reports; 1990


SEB/3/3 Staff newspaper; 1988-1993

Date: 1920-1990
Related material:

The pre-nationalisation records of Seeboard are held by the Amberley Chalkpits Museum.


For copies of orders deposited with the County Council under the Electricity (Supply) Acts 1882-1928, see C/C114 and for files concerning the making of these orders, see C/C77; for copies of annual accounts of public utilities deposited with the County Council, see C/C109.

Held by: East Sussex and Brighton and Hove Record Office (ESBHRO), not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Seeboard plc

Physical description: 3 Subfonds
Access conditions:

Closed to public inspection for 30 years after the last date of the document

Immediate source of acquisition:

Records deposited 15 Jan 1992 (ACC/5826), 16 Jun 1994 (ACC/6359), 23 Feb 1998 (ACC/7646)

  • East Sussex
  • London and Home Counties
  • Public utilities
Administrative / biographical background:

Before 1919 the Board of Trade had exercised regulatory controls over electricity supplies, principally under the Electric Lighting Acts 1882-1909. After the First World War, however, committees of the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Reconstruction reported on the electricity industry, and proposed a comprehensive national system for the generation and supply of electricity. The Electricity (Supply) Act 1919 was an attempt to implement these proposals. The Electricity Commission, which was constituted by this act, was to set up and supervise the joint electricity authorities in the provision of a cheap and abundant supply of electricity in their own districts. These bodies, representative of the local suppliers of power authorised under the scheme, together with local authorities, important consumers and other interests, were to acquire or to build generating stations as required, with the Commission's sanction. The scheme as realised along these lines was not, however, a success. Substantial changes were made in the organisation of the electricity supply industry under the provision of the Electricity (Supply) Act 1926. This constituted the Central Electricity Board to control the generating of electricity and to build and operate a national transmission grid, co-ordinating the work of the joint electricity authorities under the guidance and supervision of the Electricity Commission.


By the Ministry of Transport Act 1919 the Commission was made the responsibility of the Ministry of Transport. In 1941 it passed to the Board of Trade and in 1942 to the new Ministry of Fuel and Power. It exercised certain powers on behalf of the minister; in other matters, such as the regulation of the price of electricity, it acted in an advisory capacity. Its statutory functions fell into three main groups. The first, carried out by the Administrative Branch, concerned the granting and modification of the power to supply electricity, and the granting of consent and approval for the making of arrangements and the carrying out of works for the development and operation of electricity undertakings. The second group of functions was the responsibility of the Finance Branch. They included accounting, the drawing up of statistics, the collection of levies, and other financial matters such as the sanctioning of borrowing by the Central Electricity Board and other undertakings. The Engineering Branch dealt with the examination and certification of electricity metres under the Electricity Supply (Metres) Act 1936, the inspections being carried by area metre examiners, and also with engineering questions and inspections arising from the Commission's other work. During the Second World War, although much of its work was curtailed, the Commission was designated an 'appropriate authority' in relation to electricity supply undertakings for the purpose of civil defence, fire prevention, war damage etc. It was also involved with the settlement of manpower disputes between the Ministry of Labour and National Service and the electricity supply industry.


Following the nationalisation of electricity in 1948, the Commission was wound up, its powers being transferred to the Ministry of Fuel and Power and the British Electricity Authority.


Reorganisation of the industry under public control had been under serious consideration since the McGowan Report of 1936, but had been abandoned during the wartime emergency. Under the Electricity Act 1947, the electricity supply industry was nationalised in April 1948 and a British Electricity Authority - later renamed the Central Electricity Authority - was established. Fourteen area electricity boards and fourteen consultative councils were set up; these absorbed pre-existing undertakings. The Ministry acquired power to give general directions to the Central Authority, to approve programmes of research and development involving substantial capital outlay, to appoint chairmen and members to the Central Authority and the area boards and lay before Parliament their annual reports. The 1947 act also transferred powers relating to the testing of electricity metres from the Electricity Commission to the Ministry.


On the recommendation of the Herbert Committee, which had been appointed by the Minister to investigate the organisation of the electricity supply industry, the Electricity Act 1957 created a Central Electricity Generating Board. This replaced the Central Electricity Authority as the body responsibly for generation and operation of the grid; twelve area boards were made responsible for distribution. An Electricity Council was set up to act as a co-ordinator between central and local bodies.


The electricity supply industry was privatised in 1990.

Link to NRA Record:

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