Tuesday 23 November 2010

Cooling Towers

From one ex-industrial site to another...

Willington is a small village just south of Derby. The name originates from the old English tun meaning a farm or homestead, among the willows. It is situated beside the river Trent and has a population of approximately 2,700 people and five cooling towers.

Once upon a time, those cooling towers were accompanied by chimneys and all of the other infrastructure associated with a fully functional coal fired power station. This location was an obvious choice. Water was in ready supply from the River Trent and the nearby Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire coal field would provide the coal. The bulldozers moved in in 1954 and preparation began on the land between the B5009 and the Derby to Birmingham railway line. The first unit of the A station was commissioned on 17th December 1957 and the station was officially opened on 2nd October 1959 by the 11th Duke of Devonshire. 

During the 1980s, there was a series of open days, which were extremely popular. I regret that I didn't ever go for a look.

Privatisation in 1989, was the beginning of the end, with the first unit closing in January 1993 and the final unit seeing decommissioning on 31st March 1999.

Demolition of the site began in November 1999, until all that was left were the five cooling towers. And, 11 years later, still they stand, 300 feet high,with a diameter of 145’at their tops and 218’ at the base.


  1. Never could appreciate these things. Something stark and menacing about them. Three Mile Island looks much like this.