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Pylon illuminations project to shed light on Dame Caroline’s legacy

An electricity pylon in Three Bridges is being illuminated today in memory of a local suffragette who left a lasting legacy on electrical engineering.

From Press releases - 21 March 2018 12:00 AM

Caroline Haslett CBE as Director of EAW - pic courtesy of IET Archives.jpg

Dame Caroline Haslett, whose name lives on in Haslett Avenue, Crawley, has inspired a community arts project to include lighting underneath UK Power Networks’ electricity pylon, at the junction of Hazelwick Avenue and Haslett Avenue East.

Temporary up-lighting will be positioned underneath the pylon and switched on for a one-evening illumination test, from 6pm to 8pm today (Wed, March 21), to mark the start of a consultation period on a proposed community arts project led by Three Bridges Forum, celebrating the life and work of Dame Caroline and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote.

Local resident John Cooban, from Three Bridges Forum, which has led the project said: “It is something I am really excited about because there seems to have been so little recognition of Dame Caroline Haslett. She was a great champion of electricity and its uses to relieve the drudgery of housework, and would have welcomed the arrival of the pylon in delivering electricity to power Crawley New Town.

“I imagine it is a fairly unusual proposal to venerate the presence of a pylon by drawing attention to its connection with the birth place of a hugely important pioneer celebrant of electrical engineering. We want to make the most of it.”

Dame Caroline, a feminist and electrical engineer, was born in Three Bridges in 1895 and played a major role in promoting the use of electricity and domestic electrical appliances. In the early 1920s few homes had electric light or heating. She believed electricity could make women’s lives easier and was a powerful advocate for the development of the domestic use of electricity.

Michael Horwood, community affairs officer at UK Power Networks, said: “Dame Caroline made a major contribution to the industry and to the introduction of the kind of household labour-saving devices we all take for granted now. The period between the two world wars saw huge technical developments in our industry and she played a key part in it all.”

UK Power Networks has a blue plaque recognising Dame Caroline Haslett’s importance to women in engineering outside its substation on Haslett Avenue.

Picture caption: Dame Caroline Haslett (picture courtesy of IET Archives)