SEB Offices,  West Hendford

SEB Offices & Stores

West Hendford

 

The Southern Electricity Board was created in 1948 as part of the nationalisation of the electricity industry by the Electricity Act 1947. Over six hundred electric power companies were merged into twelve area boards. Yeovil District of the SEB was formed in 1949 by amalgamating Wessex Electricity Company's three districts of Yeovil, Frome and Shaftesbury, with the exception that the Dorchester Branch of the old Yeovil District was added to the Weymouth District.

During the night of 2 August 1949, the stores originally belonging to the Wessex Electricity Company suffered a devastating fire. (To be honest, I'm not actually sure where in Yeovil the company's stores were located before this fire.) The destruction of the stores building was clearly influential on the decision to build the new offices and stores at West Hendford.

Design work on the new offices and stores buildings was started around 1951, with ground clearance and construction taking place during 1953 on a 4½ acre site. An Art Deco-inspired light industrial unit, the new offices and stores opened in West Hendford in July 1954, complete with a rear compound for vehicles, etc. Garages were built in the compound within a year or two.

The board's assets passed to Southern Electric plc in 1990, one of the fourteen public electricity suppliers, and was privatised in the same year. In 1998 the company merged with Scottish Hydro-Electric plc and became part of Scottish and Southern Energy.

The West Hendford building was empty by 2008 and demolished in 2010.

 



The 1949 Fire in the stores



The following series of photographs, of the fire itself as well as the damage caused, don't require captions. All photographs on this page, except the final photo, are courtesy of Rob Baker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





The New Offices & Stores, West Hendford




The site of the SEB offices and stores before the site was cleared. Photographed c1952.

 


The rear of the building, seen under construction in 1954.

 


The building facing West Hendford (which was little better than a stone track at the time) seen under construction, but nearing completion in July 1954.

 


The West Hendford elevation of the newly-completed building, Photographed in July 1954. 

 


An aerial view of the building at centre bottom. Note that West Hendford was little better than a track at this time, with just a few houses seen at bottom left. The row of five semi-detached houses at centre left are in Horsey Lane. Photographed in July 1961. 

 


A closer aerial view of the building. Photographed in July 1961. 

 


Courtesy of John Cornelius. This photograph features in my book "Now That's What I Call Yeovil"

This Art Deco-inspired light industrial unit was built in 1954 for the Southern Electricity Board. It was empty by 2008 and demolished in 2010.