After the First World War, Romsey was still lit and heated by gas from the gas works at the junction of Love Lane and Linden Road, where the Alma Road car park now stands.

Messrs Mitchell Brothers, the car mechanics, had a hydro-electric dynamo at their premises in Middlebridge Street, which was powered by the stream that runs alongside the street. At some stage the Daughters of Wisdom had a hydro-electric generator installed to serve their convent, but most of the town was without electricity, as was true of most places outside large towns across England.

However, new arrangements were in hand, and in 1926 the law had changed so that electric cables could be erected to bring power from large generating stations to towns such as Romsey. The West Hants Electricity Company Ltd had obtained Parliamentary permission to provide power to the whole of west Hampshire, and set about bringing a supply to Romsey. They did so by running overhead high-tension cables from Totton to the outskirts of Romsey. In Romsey the power was stepped down to a voltage suitable for domestic use and the cables laid underground. The first streets to be supplied were Bell Street, Middlebridge Street, The Abbey, North Road (sic), Church Street, Cherville Street (to the Cottage Hospital), Market Place, The Hundred, Latimer Street, Winchester Street, Winchester Road to Botley Road turning, Palmerston Street and Alma Road.

The Cottage Hospital (then in the building now called Birchlands) could see an immediate benefit as electricity would enable them to have in-house X-ray facilities. The town council meanwhile debated whether they would switch to electric street lamps and decided to base their decision on cost and strength of light. (Romsey’s last gas lamp was converted to electricity in 1974).

The town’s streets were then dug up to lay underground cables, and all the new council houses in Duttons Road were wired for electricity.

The work supplied employment for about 30 labourers and reduced unemployment in the town substantially that summer. It was reported that an underground passage was discovered at the junction of Church Street and the Market Place, but few other finds to excite archaeologists.

In November all was ready and Mrs Ashley of Broadlands was asked to switch on Romsey’s new supply. This was followed by an exhibition of electrical labour-saving devices and demonstrations of cooking with an electric oven. The devices available for purchase included kettles, coffee-percolators, reading lamps, carpet sweepers, a coal-effect fire, an electric iron and a washing machine. The Romsey Advertiser reported that ‘all the devices were demonstrated from the ordinary lighting circuit by the “plugging” method’.

The cost was not very clear. Subscribers would pay a flat fee plus with 2d a unit. How many people took electricity from the start was not stated.