Stella Power Station


Stella Power Station

Infobox UK power station
static_

static_image_caption=Stella North and South Power Stations. Viewed from Newburn Bridge on 31 October 1987. Stella North is on the left and Stella South is on the right.
os_grid_reference=NZ175644
latitude=54.974278
longitude=-1.725795
country=England
region=North East England
shire_county=Tyne and Wear
operator=Central Electricity Authority ("1954-1957") Central Electricity Generating Board ("1957-1989")
fuel=Coal-fired
fuel_capacity=524MW (North & South total)
opened=1954
closed=1989

Stella Power Station refers to a pair of now demolished coal-fired power stations, which were located in the North East of England. It comprised two individual power stations, built on two sites, with one on each side of a bend in the River Tyne. Stella South Power Station stood on the south side of the river, near Blaydon in Gateshead, and Stella North Power Station stood on the north side of the river, near Lemington in Newcastle upon Tyne. Both stations were of a similar design to each other; they were built, opened and closed at the same time as each other. The two stations stood as a landmark in the Tyne valley for over 40 years, and were in operation from shortly after the nationalisation of the UK's electrical supply industry, right up until the year of the Electricity Act 1989, when the industry passed into the private sector.

Stella South had a generating capacity of 300 megawatts (MW) and Stella North had a generating capacity of 224 MW, a combined generating capacity of 524 MW over the two sites.cite web
title = Implications of closure of Blyth A & B power stations
work = M J O'Carroll
publisher = REVOLT
url = http://www.revolt.co.uk/blyth1.html
accessdate = 2008-09-15
] The electricity the stations generated was used to power the homes and many heavy industries which existed in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham at that time.

History

To meet the increasing demand for power in the UK during the post-war period, the already existing power stations in North East England at Dunston and North Tees were expanded. Along with this, large new stations were built in Blyth and at Stella. Doing this enabled the demand for power to be met quickly.cite web
title = About Blyth Power Station
work =
publisher =
url = http://aboutblyth.co.uk/aboutblythpowerstation.htm
accessdate = 2008-08-11
] The two Stella Power Stations were designed by L J Couves & Partners and constructed by the Cleveland Bridge Company.cite web
title = A - Z list of Bridges Built by Cleveland Bridge Company
work =
publisher = Newcastle University
url = http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/m.h.ellison/nera/khoole/clevelandcat.doc
accessdate = 2008-09-17
]

Stella North Power Station was built on the Newburn Haugh, which had been the site of Lemington Hall prior to the station's construction.cite map
publisher = Ordnance Survey
title = Old OS Maps
url = http://www.ponies.me.uk/maps/osmap.html
edition = 1925
section =
accessdate = 2008-09-18
]

Stella South Power Station was constructed on the Stella Haugh. This had been the site of the Battle of Newburn, on 28 August 1640. A cannon ball from the battle was on display in the South Station for many years, after having been dredged from the water of the river.cite web
title = The Battle Of Stella Haughs
work = Scots Wars
publisher =
url = http://www.scotwars.com/html/battle_of_newburn.htm
accessdate = 2008-08-12
] Before the construction of the South Station began, the Stella Haugh had had numerous uses:

* It had, since 1887, been the site of the track where the Blaydon Races were held each year on 9 June. The races stopped there in 1916, after a riot broke out following allegations of race fixing.cite web
title = The Blaydon Races
work = Tomorrow's History
publisher =
url = http://www.tomorrows-history.com/CommunityProjects/PE0100050001/Blaydon%20Races.htm
accessdate = 2008-08-20
]
* It had been the site of Blaydon Rugby Club's ground from 1893 until 1950, when the British Electricity Authority compulsory purchased it from them for £1000. This forced the rugby club to build a new ground in Swalwell.cite web
title = The History of Blaydon Rugby Club
work = Blaydon RFC
publisher =
url = http://www.blaydonrfc.co.uk/HISTORY/index.htm
accessdate = 2008-06-24
]
* Newcastle University Boat Club had owned a boathouse on the site from 1929 until 1951, when the British Electricity Authority requisitioned it; forcing them to move to a new boathouse upstream at Newburn.cite web
title = History
work = Newcastle University Boat Club
publisher =
url = http://ilovethebluestar.com/?page_id=10
accessdate = 2008-08-14
]

Construction of the stations began in 1951 and they were opened on 20 December 1954.cite web
title = Structure details
work = SINE Project (Structural Images of the North East)
publisher = Newcastle University
url = http://sine.ncl.ac.uk/view_structure_information.asp?struct_id=719
accessdate = 2008-06-09
] The stations were operated at first by the Central Electricity Authority, which then became the Central Electricity Generating Board two years later in 1957.

Operations

Design

The stations were built in the "brick-cathedral" style of power station design. This was a power station design style which had been popular in the 1930s and 1940s, and a well known example of it which still stands today is Battersea Power Station, in London.cite web
title = Utilities and Communications Buildings Selection Guide
work = English Heritage
publisher =
url = http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/upload/pdf/Utilities_and_Communications.pdf
accessdate = 2008-09-07
] The stations' main buildings were all-welded steel structures consisting of box type main columns and roof girders, which had been cladded with brick. Each of the stations had a large boiler house, a turbine hall and a pair of chimneys. Each of the chimneys were made of brick and stood convert|400|ft|abbr=on tall, weighing approximately convert|5000|t|lk=on|sigfig=4 each. There were also four natural draft cooling towers abutting the north side of the river bend. These were made from reinforced concrete and were of a the typically used hyperbolic design. Each one stood at a height of convert|240|ft|abbr=on. Other facilities on each of the sites included offices, coal sorting areas and small fire stations.

Inside each of the stations there were five coal bunkers, which fed coal into a pulveriser. Each of these bunkers had the capacity to hold convert|1250|t|lk=on|sigfig=4 of coal. The South Station had five boilers and the North Station had four. These were suspended from the building's steel frame. The South Station had a total length of convert|440|ft|abbr=on, a width of convert|266|ft|abbr=on and was convert|145|ft|abbr=on high at its boiler house, its tallest point.Cite journal
last =Galbraith
first =Lt.-Colonel R. F.
publication-date =January 1954
title =Presidential Address
journal =The Structural Engineer
volume =32
issue =1
pages =10
publisher =IStructE
url =http://www.istructe.org/thestructuralengineer/HC/Abstract.asp?PID=2218
accessdate =2008-08-14
] The North Station was of a similar length to the South Station but slightly taller at convert|150|ft|abbr=on.cite video
month2 = June
year2 = 1997
title = North East Tonight
medium = Television production
publisher = Tyne Tees Television
location = Newcastle upon Tyne, England
accessdate = 2008-10-04
quote = This afternoon the demolition experts turned their attention to the bolier house, some 50m high.
] The North Station was also slightly narrower due to it having one less generating set than the South Station. This also meant the North Station had a smaller generating capacity than its counterpart, sometimes leading to it erroneously being thought of as the South Station's "B" station.cite web
title = One North East selects Taywood
work = Michael Gordon
publisher = ContractJournal.com
url = http://www.contractjournal.com/Articles/2000/01/19/14760/one-north-east-selects-taywood.html
accessdate = 2008-09-11
]

Coal

Each of the power stations were designed to burn convert|2000|t|lk=on|sigfig=4 of coal a day. The stations were situated in the heart of the North East coal field, which at the time of the stations opening had hundreds of collieries operating within it. Coal from the collieries on Tyneside was delivered straight to the stations by train. The Newcastle and Carlisle Railway was used to bring coal to the South Station and the Scotswood, Newburn and Wylam Railway was used to provide the North Station.Baker (1980), P 69.] A total of twenty-two railway sidings were constructed at the South Station to handle the amount of coal delivered.

A section of the Scotswood, Newburn and Wylam Railway between Scotswood and Newburn stayed open 20 years after it had closed to passenger trains, partly so that they could be used to take coal to the North Station. A section of the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway between Central Station and Scotswood, which had closed in 1982, also remained open to serve the station.cite web
title = Swalwell Railways
work = Swalwell today and yesterday
publisher =
url = http://www.swalwelluk.co.uk/railways.html
accessdate = 2008-08-11
] A small home fleet of locomotives were used to shunt the waggons of coal once they arrived at the stations. This fleet included a set of three Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns steam locomotives, including Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns 0-4-0ST No.20 and No.21. Engine No.21 is now preserved at the Tanfield Railway site, near Sunniside in Gateshead.cite video
people =
title = Industrial Steam Across Britain
medium = DVD
publisher = Alcazar Video
location = Stella South Power Station
year2 = 1963
] The steam powered locomotives initially used were replaced by diesel locomotives over the course of the 1970s.

Cooling system

Water is essential to a thermal power station, as water is heated to create steam to turn the steam turbines. Water cycled through the Stella stations' systems was taken from the River Tyne, upon whose banks it had been built. Once the water had been through the stations' systems, the heated water needed to be cooled before being discharged back into the river. The North Station's cooling system for doing this consisted of the four 60 m³/s natural draft cooling tower units. The South Station on the other side of the river however, used a syphon cooling system instead of cooling towers. This system consisted of five 300 m³/s units. This system entailed five pipes, each convert|7|ft|abbr=on in diameter, and each with valves and screens.cite web
title = Backchat
work = ic Newcastle
publisher =
url = http://icnewcastle.icnetwork.co.uk/1000expats/expatsfeatures/2005/06/29/backchat-50080-15679356/
accessdate = 2008-08-14
] The warm water discharged by the stations was known to occasionally attract Otters, Seals and even Basking Sharks up the river.cite web
title = Some Interesting Facts about the Newburn Riverside Reclamation
work = One NorthEast
publisher =
url = http://www.onenortheast.com/lib/liReport/945/NEWBURN%20Leaflet.pdf
accessdate = 2008-06-24
]

Ash removal

Fly ash and Bottom ash are two byproducts made through the burning of coal. The stations were served by a number of flat iron barges which took the ash from the stations down the river to dump it convert|3|mi|abbr=on out into the North Sea. Vessels providing the service included "Bobbie Shaftoe", "Bessie Surtees" and "Hexamshire Lass".cite web
title = History
work = Port of Tyne
publisher =
url = http://www.portoftyne.co.uk/sitepage.aspx?id=99
accessdate = 2008-10-04
] "Bobby Shaftoe" was the name of an 18th Century British Member of Parliament, who was also the subject of a North East folk song. "Bessie Surtees" was the name of the eldest daughter of Aubone Surtees, who was a Newcastle banker. She is well known for her elopement with John Scott, and for her Jacobean home, which still stands on Newcastle's Quayside. The vessels became a common sight on the River Tyne, as they frequently needed to make the journey between the power stations and the sea, to keep up with the stations' ash output.cite web
title = Fly Ash Slurry Vessel. Stella North and South Power Station on the Tyne.
work = Ships Nostalgia
publisher =
url = http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showthread.php?t=14134
accessdate = 2008-06-24
] After the closure of Dunston Staithes in 1980, the number of times that the Swing Bridge further downstream of the stations was needed to be opened, was greatly decreased. Because the barges were low lying they were able to pass underneath it, which contributed to its infrequent operation.cite web
title = Swing Bridge
work = Bridges on the Tyne
publisher =
url = http://www.bridgesonthetyne.co.uk/swingbr.html
accessdate = 2008-08-14
]

Closure and demolition

Closure

In 1989, after being in use for almost 35 years, the two stations were decommissioned on the grounds that they had became outdated and were uneconomical to continue to operate. This was due to advances in technology and an increase in scale of electricity production. Their closure coincided with the closure of a large number of coal mines in the North East of England as well as the privatisation of the Central Electricity Generating Board and the National Coal Board, which took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Demolition

A lot of the smaller buildings and workings of the stations were demolished within a couple of years of them closing. The other larger buildings and structures on the sites were demolished in stages throughout the 1990s. The four cooling towers were demolished on the 29 March 1992, in front of thousands of spectators around the area.cite web
title = Housing
work = Newcastle City Council
publisher =
url = http://www.lemingtoncentre.co.uk/wb/media/download_gallery/info_factsheets.pdf
accessdate = 2008-08-14
] The large buildings and chimneys of Stella South didn't follow until the autumn of 1996, where they were demolished over the course of two weeks. In these weeks the chimneys were demolished first before being followed by the turbine hall and finally the boiler house. Stella North stood alone over the winter of 1996 until its turbine hall was demolished in early 1997. Its boiler houses followed in June, but took two attempts to completely knock down. The first attempt on 22 June 1997 did largely demolish the structure, but a second attempt was needed the next day on 23 June 1997 to completely demolish the boiler house. Stella North's two chimneys, the final visage of Stella Power Station, were demolished a couple of weeks later.

1990s image gallery

This collection of images show the stations in disuse and through the several stages of their demolition during the 1990s.

Present

The site of the North station was reclaimed shortly after its demolition, along with the site of the neighbouring Anglo Great Lakes Graphite Plant which had been demolished around the same time. The latter site was littered with blocks of graphite prior to the reclamation due to the graphite plant, which had made high-purity graphite for use in nuclear reactors.cite web
title = Salvaged Block
work =
publisher =
url = http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Elements/006/index.html
accessdate = 2008-08-12
] The reclamation of the convert|230|acre|abbr=on site was completed in 2000. This was to make way for the growing new industrial/business park "Newburn Riverside", which opened a year later in 2001. The development is still expanding but has the potential to create up to 5,000 jobs. The park has a convert|4|km|abbr=on cycle route and nature trail around its edge,cite web
title = Environmentally Friendly Home for One Northeast
work = The A to Z of Buildings
publisher =
url = http://www.azobuild.com/news.asp?newsID=68
accessdate = 2008-08-14
] which takes visitors, walkers and cyclists along the side of the river and past where the power station's cooling towers once stood.

The convert|35|acre|abbr=on site of the South station is now under redevelopment too, after having sat as a brownfield site for almost 10 years. The company redeveloping the site had applied for planning permission numerous times over the course of 6 years, only to be refused. Barratt and Persimmon are now building a £4.7 million housing estate on the site, named "Riverside Crescent". The estate will consist of 522 residential units, ranging from two bedroom apartments to five bedroom houses. Other features will include convert|4|acre|abbr=on of open space, a riverside walkway and a restaurant. A new bus link to Blaydon will also be created.cite web
title = Barratt to deliver 1,000 homes as work begins on two major North East sites
work = Barratt Developments Plc
publisher =
url = http://www.barratt-investor-relations.co.uk/media/releases/Content.aspx?id=1206
accessdate = 2008-08-11
] The plans for the redevelopment first went on display at Stella RC Primary School on 5 October 2005. Other proposals for the site had included industrial development, which met opposition, and restoration to grassland, which was unfeasible.cite web
title = Stella South Power Station site future
work = Gateshead News
publisher =
url = http://gatesheadnews.blogspot.com/2007/10/stella-south-power-station-site-future.html
accessdate = 2008-08-12
]

Despite all of the above ground workings of the South station having been demolished in 1996, foundations, culverts and other underground workings still remained. These needed to be removed before construction could commence on the site.cite web
title = 500 new riverside homes on the site of old power station
work = The Journal
publisher =
url = http://www.nebusiness.co.uk/business-news/construction-in-north-east/2007/10/26/500-new-riverside-homes-on-the-site-of-old-power-station-51140-20010522/
accessdate = 2008-06-09
] This preparation work has now been completed and construction of the houses is currently taking place. Prior to the land reclamation, the South site was known to contain "Chaenorhinum minus", a species of Toadflax.cite web
title = Flora Record
work = Gateshead Birders
publisher =
url = http://www.gatesheadbirders.co.uk/Flora/Flora%202003-2004.htm
accessdate = 2008-09-18
]

Because of the amount of land reclamation on the two sites there is very little evidence still left that the power stations ever stood there other than a small number of bricks and steel rods, which have seemingly avoided being removed from the sites. A more abundant sign that the power stations were once there is their three large sub-stations near the sites, which still import a large amount of electricity into the region.cite web
title = Grid Capacity Study
work = PB Power
publisher =
url = http://www.northeastassembly.gov.uk/displaypagedoc.asp?id=398
accessdate = 2008-06-09
] A lot of this electricity comes from Scotland's Cockenzie power station, via a 275 kilovolt (kV) and a 400 kV connection.cite web
title = Cockenzie Power Station
work = Scottish Power
publisher =
url = http://www.scottishpower.com/uploads/CockenziePowerStation.pdf
accessdate = 2008-09-02
]

Social and cultural impact

When still in operation, the power stations appeared in a scenes in a small number of movies which were filmed in the area of Newcastle upon Tyne. These films include:

* "Seacoal" - a movie made by Amber Films in 1985. Stella Power Station is seen briefly in a shot from a scene where the two protagonists, Ray and Betty, are traveling from Sunderland to Newcastle. Lynemouth Power Station, another North East power station which is still in operation, features more prominently in the film.
* "Payroll" - a movie made in 1961, starring Michael Craig. The character of one of two security van operators resides in Stella park, a housing estate situated above the power station. The power station can be seen whenever the security van operator's home is visited in the film, and is used prominently as a back drop to the scenes.

Although they had relatively few film appearances, the power stations were still a strong and iconic local landmark. Their chimneys were able to be seen along a large section of the Tyne valley of roughly convert|8.6|mi|abbr=on; from Bensham near Gateshead down to Heddon-on-the-Wall in Northumberland. This was mainly because there were almost no other buildings of a similar large size in that section of the valley.

The power station was one of the last remaining industrial buildings in modern Tyneside, and its demolition is felt, by some, to have marked the end of industrial Tyneside. The National Trust and other heritage companies failed to recognise this historic importance and so failed to acquire and preserve the building because it wasn't thought to have as such, due to its fairly modern construction.cite web
title = The Remains of Distant Times
work = Morgan Evans, Peter Salway, David Thackray
publisher =National Trust
url = http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=MJylQnvpXQcC&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=stella+power+station&source=web&ots=aqtb6M-hcd&sig=c-lEcZ0X86snCfRHVghzEsU-UJw&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA15,M1
accessdate = 2008-08-11
]

Due to the closure of the Stella power stations, along with the power stations at Dunston and Blyth, the northern part of North East England has became heavily dependent upon the National Grid for electrical supply. However, in the south of the region there are still two large power stations at Hartlepool and Wilton, meaning that the south of the region does not depend upon the national grid for electrical supply as much as the north of the region.cite web
title = Regional Planning Guidance for the North East
work = Government Office For The North East
publisher =
url = http://www.gos.gov.uk/nestore/docs/planning/planning_guidance.pdf
accessdate = 2008-08-14
]

References

Notes

Bibliography

*

See also

* List of power stations in England
* Timeline of the UK electricity supply industry
* Energy use and conservation in the United Kingdom
* Electricity Act 1947
* Electricity Act 1957
* Northern Electric

External links

* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K7iSIAney8 YouTube] - a short animation of the failed attempt to demolish the boiler house.
* [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0N4GE9ko_0 YouTube] - a collection of news reels featuring the demolition of the Stella South chimneys and the Stella North boiler house.
* [http://www.napperarchitects.net/masterplanning.html# NAPPER Architects] - designs for Riverside Crescent.
* [http://www.corries.co.uk/cgi-bin/template.pl?t=npd&ID=167 Corries Solicitors Ltd ] - compensation given to a former worker of Stella Power Station.
* [http://sine.ncl.ac.uk/retrieve_results.asp?SN=&ln=&TY=&FT=stella+power+station&Submit=+Search+ SINE Project] - a collection of images featuring the power stations.
* [http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/NORTHUMBRIA/2004-01/1073423331 RootsWeb] - an account of a worker being injured during the construction of the power station.
* [http://mrchristopherhall15.fotopic.net/p47802385.html Fotopic] - a picture of a fire engine which worked at the power station.


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