Sunday, 30 October 2011


Inasmuch as I thought about them at all I used to dislike pylons. A chain of blots besmirching a much loved landscape. Etc. And I would happily put my name to any petition that sought to discourage their relentless march.

But a while ago drawing one made me look at them afresh.

And I realised I actually quite like their extraordinary height, their slowly tapering perpendiculars and intricate geometric symmetries.

And just as with weeds, once you've learned the name of something it’s harder to hate it. Pylons are officially called ‘transmission towers’ and they come in a multitude of styles and permutations. The most common are L2s and L6s but just when you think you have their measure you’ll spot one that doesn’t conform to anything you’ve previously seen.

Wouldn’t this look just dandy in the Turbine Hall ?....

(And as it turns out I'm not the only one: they even have their own Pylon Appreciation Society. Check it out.)


  1. Great, striking photos.
    Ooh and a nice bit of eclectickery too: - a Catweazle reference and a Captain B track!
    As for the pylons, well for me they’ve just always been there, and perhaps for that reason I’ve never had a problem with them. As a child I was in awe, they seemed like giant god-like guardians surveying the land; I found them scary and comforting in equal measure. As an adult, I like electricity (or at least the things it provides) too much to have an objection to them. And I still find them (a bit) scary and (a bit) comforting in equal measure - plus I have a greater appreciation of their Eiffel Tower-ish aesthetics.

    Had no idea there were so many different ones… you learn something every day.

    And I suppose there just had to be an appreciation society somewhere! I do like their logo.

  2. Haha - wondered if anyone would get the Catweazle reference - you get first prize!

  3. Hiya,

    Glad you went to see my favourite pylons, love your photos!

    Thanks for the link!

  4. Your welcome Flash; thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I've always been intrigued by the negative space of overlapping power, tram and train lines Kind of like your "Alone In A Cloud" post from a few months back, they make for wonderful abstract sketches. I must dig back through the sketchbooks and do a post! Thanks.

  6. You're welcome Rob. Yes, they do make great starting points for abstraction. One of those things where once you notice them you start seeing them everywhere. There's a nice interesting set of old poles and wires fanning out above a route I use most days - must stop one day and get a photograph.