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The genesis of the electricity supply industry in Britain: A case study of NESCo from 1889-1914

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tom McGovern, Tom McLean



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


A study of the NESCo provides a micro-history of the emergence of the electricity supply industry in Britain up to the First World War. This research examines the role of social capital in the establishment and growth of the NESCo, the only financially successful British electric power company. Temporal bracketing was adopted to evaluate two distinct time periods: emergence from 1889-1899; and growth from 1900-1914. Family, business and social networks together with geographical and political factors secured the company’s dominant position. The structural relationship with Merz & Mclellan contributed to growth through acquisitions, joint ventures, and access to new markets.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McGovern T, McLean T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Business History

Year: 2017

Volume: 59

Issue: 5

Pages: 667-689

Print publication date: 01/05/2017

Online publication date: 08/12/2016

Acceptance date: 11/11/2016

Date deposited: 14/11/2016

ISSN (print): 0007-6791

ISSN (electronic): 1743-7938

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2016.1261827


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