About Us

Bob Gordon at The Electricity Council Warehouse, holding a Power Switchboard electric arc extinguisher dating from about 1910. The picture dates from the early 1980’s

SEEBOARD was set up in 1948, at the time of the nationalisation of the Electricity Supply Industries, in order to take over some of the tasks of fifty small generating and supply companies dotted about the south east of England. Its brief was to control the supply of electricity throughout this large area.

The creation of the Milne Museum stemmed from an initiative by the Electricity Council in the late 1960’s. The then ‘Area Boards’ were asked to appoint museum surveyors to ascertain whether there were artefacts and archival material worthy of preservation, with a view to the ultimate establishment of a National Museum of Electricity.

In Seeboard the task was undertaken by Bob Gordon (1911 – 2006), a former senior commercial manager, who quickly tracked down and earmarked for preservation a wide range of material. When it became clear that the establishment of a national museum would be long delayed, Seeboard’s Deputy Chairman (and later Chairman) Archibald Milne gave the go-ahead for the items and archives that Bob had collected to be housed in an old power station at The Slade, Tonbridge, Kent. Thus was established The Milne Museum which opened in 1975.

The Disused power station  at
The Slade, Tonbridge, Kent

The collection remained on view to the public at Tonbridge until 1989, when, amid the general changes resulting from the privatisation of the Supply Industry, it became apparent that the collection might, more appropriately, be displayed elsewhere. Talks were begun with the Amberley Chalk Pits Museum (as it was then called) regarding the safeguarding of the collection and its long-term future. Following an agreement with the museum, a purpose-designed building was erected in the Grey Pit at the site. The Milne Library was the first part of the collection to be housed at Amberley, the new library

SEEBOARD depot at Bexhill showing a collection of artifacts before removal to Tonbridge c1971

building being erected in 1992 with the aid of a generous grant from the Museums and Galleries Commission. The Seeboard Electricity Hall, sponsored by SEEBOARD to house the exhibits, followed and was formally opened at the end of June 1993 by Stanley Maunder Wide, the Administration Director and Company Secretary of the, by now privatised, regional electricity company SEEBOARD Plc.

In 2002 SEEBOARD joined 24seven Utility Services under the ownership of the LE Group, which then rebranded in 2003 to become EDF Energy Networks, the UK branch of Électricité de France, before being acquired by Cheung Kong Holdings and renamed UK Power Networks. (This last paragraph is taken from the Wikipedia entry for SEEBOARD).