Domestic electricity

Electricity was first used in the home for lighting in a few wealthy properties in the late 1870’s. However, public supply of electricity to homes did not begin until 1888, with probably the town of Godalming in Surrey having the first public electricity supply scheme.

Whilst London and Paris both had street lighting schemes by that time these initiatives did not include a supply to private customers. Within the first two decades of the 20th century, the electric vacuum cleaner, electric washing machines, electric refrigerators and the electric pop-up toaster had all been invented. 


Clem travelling iron

This travelling iron, with a black bakelite handle, was made by the company Clayton, Lewis & Miller Ltd circa 1945-1950. It has a label 'Clem, 200/250 volts, patent applied for 1945, Clayton, Lewis & Miller Ltd, British made'. This model of Clem travelling iron appeared in the British Museum / BBC’s A History of The World project. A later model of the Clem travelling iron, circa 1954, is held by the Science Museum in its ‘Secret Life of the Home Gallery’ – by that time it had been granted a patent (number 604081). Donated by SSE Group