We recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of rural electrification, and this December we thought it would be nice to look back at some Christmas themed artwork and curio from the monthly publication of the Rural Electrification Office. REO News ran from 1947-1961, and published a special Christmas issue every December to celebrate all the work put in on the scheme throughout the year.
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Christmas covers, 1948-1960
The benefits of rural electrification, 1951
A rural electrification Christmas Carol, 1952
Each Christmas edition of the magazine contained a congratulatory Christmas message from REO management, such as PJ Dowling, Engineer-in-Charge. Here are two examples from 1953 and 1956:
Thanks for the light and heat, we think we are in Heaven
– Letter from a family in Rockchapel, December 1958
Earlier this year, we published a little girl’s letter to ESB’s Chairman in December 1953, asking for ‘the light’ for Christmas. Here are some more rural-themed Christmas anecdotes from REO News:
Reflections on progress
Each Christmas edition reflected on the progress made throughout the year, boosting staff morale, celebrating sales and rising consumer numbers, and giving credit where it was due. Here are two examples from December 1949 and 1950, when the success of the scheme was becoming more and more apparent:
Has our work any significance beyond lighting people’s houses, heating the iron, or pumping water? … We feel strongly, however, that the bringing of electric service into the homes of our countryside must contribute appreciably to the harmony of these homes, and help to make living more bearable
If anyone ever doubts the value placed on our work and services by the country people, let him visit an area office about the middle of December. No matter how busy they may be with their normal Christmas preparations, they will place preparations for the coming of our supply, high on their list … [there is] unanimous consent that the coming of electricity should be placed at the top of the list of material blessings
Absolutely wonderful. Well done.