North Watford History Group

Milliken Brothers

Among the factories in Bushey Mill Lane, using the North Watford Sidings was Milliken Bros. Many of us will be familiar with their best known product — the electricity Pylon. The Central Electricity board (CEB) was formed as a result of an act of parliament in 1925. The CEB worked to establish a single network of electricity — the national grid — linking power stations and the electricity supply chain across the country. [1] As part of the establishment of the national grid the CEB were keen to establish a standard pylon design. Leading architect Sir Reginald Blomfield chose a design submitted by Milliken Bros. for the first national grid electricity towers. [2] By 1947 some 80% of towers erected for use by the national grid had been designed by Milliken Bros. [3]

As well as designing electricity towers they also produced designs for transmission and radio towers. They never branched into the manufacturer of the towers, instead opting to outsource this side of the production chain. [4]

One employee of Milliken Bros. was Mr. Fred J.T. Holland. He worked for Milliken, and their later owners Blaw Knox, from the early 1920s until his retirement in 1957, [5] and was recognised as a leading authority in tower design. [6]


Research: Rebecca; North Watford History Group.
Author: Rebecca; North Watford History Group.


  1. History of public supply in the UK; Engineering Timelines website
  2. McAulay, Ian & Bristow, Flash; UK Pylon Designs; The Gorge website
  3. Blaw Knox Limited Prospectus; The Times, 8 Dec 1947, page 9
  4. Blaw Knox Limited Prospectus; The Times, 8 Dec 1947, page 9
  5. Blaw Knox Ltd. Effects Of Adverse Economic Conditions, Mr. John M. Wallace Reviews Divisional Activities; The Times, 19 May 1958, page 18
  6. Blaw Knox Limited Prospectus; The Times, 8 Dec 1947, page 9

[Added by Glen: 00:24am 11 May 2009]
[Updated by Glen: 11:04pm 20 Nov 2009]

This page was last updated on 20 November 2009.