Skip to content or view screen version

RIP Tinsley Cooling Towers

. | 12.08.2008 16:57 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Other Press | Sheffield

E.ON UK Press Releases
12 August 2008 10:06
August demolition date set for Tinsley cooling towers
E.ON has today announced it will bring down the redundant Tinsley cooling towers this August Bank Holiday weekend.

The 250ft towers will be demolished in a controlled explosion in the early hours of Sunday 24th August.

E.ON UK Press Releases
12 August 2008 10:06
August demolition date set for Tinsley cooling towers
E.ON has today announced it will bring down the redundant Tinsley cooling towers this August Bank Holiday weekend.

The 250ft towers will be demolished in a controlled explosion in the early hours of Sunday 24th August.

Because of the need to close the M1 motorway, the timings were decided following extensive consultation with the Highways Agency, Police and other local agencies to try to minimise disruption to locals and road users.

And to mark the event the company is sponsoring fundraising initiatives to benefit local charities - a souvenir book and postcard set charting the history of the towers.

Plans for a viewing platform at Meadowhall and a text raffle to win the chance to start the demolition countdown will be announced shortly.

Derek Parkin, Managing Director of Business Services at E.ON, said: "Our priority has always been to make sure this demolition is carried out safely and with as little disruption as possible, which is why we've opted for the early hours of the morning."

To mark their demolition, E.ON is funding a souvenir book of the life of the station, produced by the University of Sheffield's Archaeology consultancy, Arcus, and a collection of postcards based on historical images of the site.

Funds raised from the sale of these will be donated to The Rotherham Hospice and Neurocare at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.

Lesley Eland, Neurocare's fundraising director, said: "We're delighted to have been invited to benefit from this unique opportunity.

"The Tinsley Towers have been a longstanding landmark for the city and, while many people will be sad to see them go, the money raised will hopefully leave a long lasting impression on the people of Sheffield, helping to improve the lives of patients with a range of debilitating illnesses for many years to come."

Gill Shaw, chief officer at Rotherham Hospice, added: "Every year Rotherham Hospice needs to raise more than £1.8m to help cover its day-to-day operational costs. The Tinsley Towers are a well known local landmark and it's great that the proceeds of the book will be used to help support our work."

The M1 motorway will be closed between junctions 32 and 35 from midnight on Saturday evening and for most of Bank Holiday Sunday. The A631 Tinsley viaduct lower deck between the Tinsley and Meadowhall roundabouts will also be closed.

Arthur Ashburner, Divisional Director at the Highways Agency, said: "We have agreed that the best time to close the motorway to allow the demolition to take place will be in the early hours of Bank Holiday Sunday when traffic levels are at their lowest.

"Clearly-signed diversions will be in place along the M18 and M62 together with local diversion routes, in order to limit any delays to road-users, but we advise drivers to allow extra time for their journeys.

"Up to date traffic information on the closure will be available via roadside electronic message signs, the Highways Agency's website at, by tuning in to the Highways Agency's Traffic Radio available on DAB digital and online at, and by listening to local radio stations.

"Our primary concern is for the safety of road-users. Over the past 30 years, since the main Blackburn Meadows Power Station was demolished, the Agency has carried out extensive strengthening works on the adjacent M1 Tinsley Viaduct. We are now content that the demolition of the remaining towers, as planned, poses a very low risk of damage to this important structure.

"Nevertheless, a rigorous programme of inspection and testing will ensure that reopening of the motorway will only take place when we are entirely satisfied that is it safe to do so."





12.08.2008 17:04


Blackburn Meadows electricity generating station was built by the Sheffield Corporation in 1921,mainly to support the steel industry in the Lower Don Valley. The station was expanded in the 1930s, requiring the construction of Cooling Towers 6 and 7 in 1937-8 to supplement earlier square cooling towers to the north east.

These new hyperbolic shaped towers were designed by LG Mouchell and Partners. This was the same partnership responsible for the first hyperbolic cooling towers in the country (built in Liverpool in 1925) and some 150 towers subsequently built across the United Kingdom. Blackburn Meadows was one of those power stations nationalised to form part of the National Grid after the Second World War. It was decommissioned and mainly demolished in the 1970s.


The Blackburn Meadows cooling towers are nationally rare surviving remains of pre-nationalisation large scale electricity generation. They are thought to be the only pre-1950 hyperbolic cooling towers surviving nationally, with nearly all the other 500 or so towers in the country dating to 1960or later. In addition to their early date, the association with LG Mouchell, the design features such as the banding and the thinness of the shell all give the towers interest. The addition of the spray coating of concrete following the 1964 disaster at Ferrybridge adds further interest by showing a development in the industry.

Even without the clouds of steam that signify operational examples, the cooling towers are also very prominent landmark features, providing a visual indication of the former scale and importance of the Sheffield steel industry in the Lower Don Valley.

However the two hyperbolic cooling towers are just one component of an extensive complex that formerly existed. The plant at Blackburn Meadows generated electricity by using steam turbines to turn electric generators, with the steam produced using coal fired boilers, the coal supplied by rail.

The railway system, coal handling plant, boiler complex, turbine and generating halls, as well as the switchgear for connecting the plant to the electricity grid and the earlier square cooling towers have all been lost. Water used by the steam turbines would have been maintained within a closed system, the steam leaving the turbine then passing through a condenser to change it back to hot water before being reboiled to produce steam to turn the turbine.

The cooling towers were used to cool water circulating in a separate system that was used to cool the condensers other equipment.

With the demolition of the rest of the generating station, the surviving cooling towers have lost their context so it is difficult to see how they functioned as an integrated part of a much wider plant.

Functionally, cooling towers still in use consist of far more than just the shell of the tower that survives at Blackburn Meadows. In operation, water is piped into the lower portion of the cooling tower into a complex network of pipes or troughs ending with sprinklers.

A fine mist of water is then sprayed on to a timber or asbestos lattice of staging and screens filling the lower 4-5m of the tower, with the water being cooled via natural evaporation aided by air being drawn upwards by the tower above. Any water droplets carried by this updraft are intercepted by a layer of louvers positioned above the sprinklers. In addition, operational cooling towers have a network of maintenance access ways. All bar one pipe in one of the towers has been stripped out from the cooling towers at Blackburn Meadows, leaving very little indication of how the towers actually functioned.

The Blackburn Meadows cooling towers are thus not only a very partial survival of an electricity generating station, they are also only a very partial survival of a pair of cooling towers. Even given the national context of the highly fragmentary survival of the pre-nationalisation power generation industry, designation of the Blackburn Meadows cooling towers cannot be justified.

The rest of the generating station has been lost, depriving the towers of their functional context and the loss of pipe work, staging, screens and access ways means that a highly significant part of the interest of the towers as cooling towers has also been lost.

make the middle class history
mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

video of the cooling towers demolition

24.08.2008 04:12

This video is only part 1 we'll have to wait for part 2



Display the following 2 comments

  1. On the 12th August 2008 10:06 E-ON set an August demolition date set for Tinsley — make the middle class history
  2. Tinsley Towers — make the middle class history