A Sound Like ‘Zip!’


There’s a new Long Weekend blog on its way later today, discussing the uses of electricity in the 1930s country house. By way of a taster, here’s a lovely example of floodlighting from 1937 and a verse from Hilaire Belloc’s classic poem of 1893 on The Benefits of Electricity’

Awake, my Muse! Portray the pleasing sight
That meets us where they make Electric Light.
Behold the Electrician where he stands
Soot, oil, and verdigris are on his hands;
Large spots of grease defile his dirty clothes,
The while his conversation drips with oaths.
Shall such a being perish in its youth?
Alas! It is indeed the fatal truth.
In that dull brain, beneath that hair unkempt,
Familiarity has bred contempt.
We warn him of the gesture all too late:
Oh, Heartless Jove! Oh, Adamantine Fate!
Some random touch – a hand’s imprudent slip –
The Terminals – a flash – a sound like ‘Zip!’
A smell of burning fills the startled Air –
The Electrician is no longer there!

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