Rural map: explanation

The dates and data used to populate the rural google map were taken from the 168 issues of the REO News, published between December 1947 and November 1961.

We are reliant on these figures from REO News, as often, no other record remains which gives specific details about when an area was started and completed, and the number of poles/kilometres of line/consumers (premises) connected.

A number of points must be made about the way in which this data was obtained:

1. Start date

The exact date work commenced in individual rural areas is not recorded uniformly. Therefore, the ‘start’ date has been recorded as the date when ESB selected the area for development, as reported monthly in REO News. However, due to the volume of areas awaiting connection, this date does not reflect the actual date the rural ‘gang’ arrived and work commenced in that area. As such, while the year work started on the map is correct, the month is only an approximation. For example, the areas listed ‘selected’ in the image below have been given a start date of ‘December 1950’, the month they were published in REO News.

Map_REO Dec 1950_Selected areas

List of areas selected for rural electrification, REO News, December 1950

2. Completion date and other data

The exact date each rural area was ‘completed’ is also not recorded uniformly. Therefore, the ‘completion’ date has been recorded as the date the rural area appeared in the monthly progress reports printed in REO News marked with the identifier ‘(completed)’ or ‘(C)’. At this stage, the number of poles/consumers and length of line are recorded as the ‘final’ figures for this rural area. In some instances, rural areas never appear marked ‘completed’ – in these cases, the date of completion and corresponding data has been taken as an area’s last appearance in the progress reports, as this represents the most up to date information available at that time.

Map_REO Aug 1953_Progress in areas

Progress report published in REO News, August 1953

3. Areas started and completed after 1961

The last issue of REO News was published in November 1961. At this time, 49 rural areas remained outstanding, with the last of the 792 areas of the first phase of rural electrification connected by 1965. For these areas, the data has been obtained from the original REO files. The types of records these files contain are sometimes inconsistent, and the format of the data varies significantly from the progress reports printed in REO News. Where possible, the most recent or ‘final’ entry in the file has been consulted to ascertain: the date work started and/or commenced in an area; the number of poles erected; the length of line strung; and the number of consumers connected.

Final report for Labasheeda Rural Area, 23 January 1962

Final report for Labasheeda Rural Area, 23 January 1962

It is therefore important to note that the data used to populate the rural map acts as a guide only, and dates/figures should be verified with archives staff before being used for publication and other research.