Shoreham Power Stations

Brighton A Power Station

The construction on the first Shoreham power station located in Southwick commenced in 1904. Its site chosen because of its position on the harbour, meaning plentiful supply of water for cooling, and access to coal via the shipping route from NE England. The first phase of the station opened in June 1906, with a generating capacity of 5,470 kW. The station was given various modifications and extensions, and by 1946 it had a capacity of 190 MW. By 1961 the station had an installed capacity of 190 MW.  The turbines were supplied with steam from 10 boilers. The boilers were chain grate, pulverised coaland retort stoker designs.  Seawater was used for condensing and cooling.

Southwick Power Station in 1924. Photo Britain from Above
The site in 1927. Note the remnant of base of Mystery Tower 3 on the far left. This was covered by the coal yard to Brighton B Power Station in 1954. Photo Britain from Above
Brighton A: 1933. Britain from Above

The A station was closed on 15 March 1976.

Demolition of Brighton A chimneys 1976

Brighton B Power Station

1948 foundations are laid for the Brighton B Eastern end to be constructed. Britain from the Air.
1934 evidence of 2 or 3 Mystery Tower bases in the lagoon that would soon be covered by Brighton B western chimney. ©English Heritage MAC
Brighton B Chimney 1993. this was the last of the two to be demolished : Photo © Lucy Melford Flickr

In the early 1940s it became clear that a large power station was needed to provide electricity for the south east area. The Southwick site was selected by CEB, the national power board. In 1946 Brighton Corporation proceeded with the construction of the new station, consisting of six 52.5 MW generating sets. Work started in 1947 with construction at the Eastern end. There was a period of years (much like Battersea power station) when only one chimney had been erected. In 1950 consent was given for the second section of the station with uprated generating sets of 60 MW, and the original sets 1 to 4 uprated to 55.5 MW. The station’s six units were commissioned from December 1952 to September 1958, and the station had a total generating capacity of 342 MW. The chimneys were 350 feet high and were 32 feet internal diameter and were an iconic landmark for miles around.

By 1961 the station had an installed capacity of 342 MW. The turbines were supplied with steam from 11 pulverised coal boilers. Seawater was used for condensing and cooling. Electrically, Generators 1 – 4 fed into the 132kV network at Fishersgate 132kV Substation. Generators 5 – 6 fed in to the local 33kV network.

On 11 March 1979 Cessna 182 G-BEOG struck one of the chimneys in thick fog and then crashed into the embankment opposite the Power Station alongside the A259.  The pilot had descended out of fog to get a visual fix to aid him to locate Shoreham Airport, before hitting the embankment, near to an oil storage depot, and exploding. 
Demolition of the East chimney in 1988
Demolition of the West chimney in 1998

Shoreham Power Station

Shoreham Power Station. Photo by Dirty Scan on Unsplash

In 1999 the new gas-fired station was built on the site of the B station. Unlike the Brighton A and Brighton B it was titled “Shoreham” Power Station – although that in turn was incorrect in that it is in Southwick and also could be confused with the infamous Shoreham Nuclear Power Station in the US.

It was opened in the summer of 2000 costing £150m. It was originally owned by South Coast Power Ltd, a consortium of Scottish Power and Seeboard.

It is a 420 MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine type power that runs on natural gas. Warm waste water is released into the sea. The chimney is 100m tall, slightly shorter than the chimneys that preceded it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *