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On leaving Simonsbath James Welch moved to Braunton to take up employment with the newly-formed Braunton Electric Light Company.  He helped build the engine house and install and then maintain the generator.  He erected poles, which he carried around on a handcart and connected electricity to the principal houses and pubs in the village.   His starting salary in 1911 was £2 per week – a considerable increase on his wages in Simonsbath.  This increased within a very few years to £3.50 and later to £5.00 – exceptionally good wages in these difficult times. James died after a short illness on 18 March 1935.  By the time of his death the Braunton Electric and Power Co Ltd was supplying an area of 98 square miles. It was acquired the same year by the Bideford and District Electric Supply Co Ltd .

James Welch’s son William stayed on in Simonsbath after his father left and  worked as a carpenter there until he retired in 1957 after 47 years with the Fortescue Estate.  But that, as they say, is another story….l 

© Graham Wills