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Report - - Barking A&B Substation Control Room, East London - February 2024 | UK Power Stations | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Barking A&B Substation Control Room, East London - February 2024

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KPUrban_

Surprisingly Unsurprising
Regular User
Barking Power Station

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History

Commissioned by the C.L.E.S.Co (County of London Electricity Company) in 1920, to take on the workload of the smaller Barking Urban District Council site within the area, their plan was to build and operate an electricity generating station capable of expanding up to an output of 600-Megawatts (Mw) if required.

The newly formed Barking A Power Station would open in 1925 with an output of around 240 Megawatts. This was achieved through using a total of eight 70,000HP generating sets, or Turbines, supplied by Parsons and a further twenty four boilers to supply steam. All of this lead to an imposing figure boasted across the Thames as the ten chimneys marked the spot of what was now the largest single steam generating station in Europe.


In 1939, to increase capacity in the face of growing demand, the CLES.Co would commission Barking B Power Station. This extension hosted four primary generating sets supplied by British Thompson Houston, and a further sixteen boilers, with a combined output of around 300 Megawatts which boosted the site close to the planned 600Mw capacity. Externally the B station boasted a slimmer and more modern external appearance whilst throwing another four chimneys to the London skyline.

This around the time of the birds-eye image (below) which shows both stations and the key part of todays interest.
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Image showing the power station in 1935, from Historic England.
At the forefront is the substation which directed the massive amounts of electricity in and out of the station. At the time the "B" station was in operation, this structure was half the size to what we see it today although the surviving control room would have been installed at this point.

Post-war the station would be taken on by the nationalised British Electricity Authority (Later the CEGB) who would continue the expansion of the station's footprint by constructing the "C" station in 1954 with another three BTH generating sets and six boilers.
As the 1950s pushed on into the 60's and 70's the A and B station would be modified to improve operations. Half of the boilers within the A station would be removed by 1950 and replaced with a steam-link to the B station with the remaining boilers converted to oil. By 1966 the A station was operating at about half the initial capacity before being closed in 1969. The B station would similarly become outdated and after be de-rated to produce around 140mw before closure in 1976.
Meanwhile, the C station would continue on with the CEGB until closure in 1981.

Post-closure of the power station, the surrounding area developed into a large industrial wasteland with various pollutive industries operating along the streets varying from scrapyards to garages. Today the area is still largely the same although, the brand new apartments and transport halts adds a strange atmosphere to the area where you quickly emerge from a newly built housing complex to a dark and polluted industrial zone.

The idea of a Barking Power station would become a slight fantasy until Thames Power Services commissioned their CCGT station in 1995 before only operating around 23 years.

Visits:

Visited with F22 and later with @Wastelandr & @KismetJ

This site is a bit of a "Shoreham", having been closed well before the 2000's and doing the rounds since the early days of this hobby and forum. The most notable aspect is the awkwardness of accessing the buildings themselves from a physical aspect when eyeing up the double-stacked fence and a social aspect when considering the local market which used to operated on the site of the A&B stations.
Eventually, it felt time to give the place some thought and begin worrying about hanging 15 to 20ft in the air off of some dodgy palisade.

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Arriving during daybreak, I took the time to lock the car about forty times before heading into the area surrounding the station. Having figured out a way in, we were stood knee deep in pigeon sludge and feeling strangely underwhelmed at the site of the stations internals.
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. However, at the sun began to rise (on both occasions) the vast halls were lit up in a way which seemed to bring out the stations more pleasant features.
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From what little electrical knowledge I have, and doubting the initial suspicions of turbines due to the lack of supporting infrastructure, these halls were presumably home to banks of capacitors and switchgear.
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At some point this fire suppression system was installed. Judging by the location of it within the plant, it would be assumed this was a later retrofit to the station.

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Along an elevated ledge, where the building seems to have been extended from in later life.
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The lead-acid battery room. I'm not quite sure how this would have all been put together back in the station's operation period.

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The control Room.
Needless to say, this is the whole reason anyone visits.
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Having been laid derelict for nearing fifty years, the amount of detailed components left within was a more-than pleasant view.
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The circuit diagrams, posted above the controls, are made from a ceramic material and have been carefully detailed by hand. The pillars in the ground, despite being stripped, appear to have been a master control desk for this panel.
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The indicators viewed up close.
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A handful of other miscellaneous images.
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Scouring over the diagrams I found the naming of the cabling sections rather interesting. The sections were named by colour, rather than an arbitrary letters or numbers, and lead to some interesting combinations with areas coded as grey, pink or magenta in some instances.
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Having peeled myself away from this room we scoured the later extension of the building into, what appears to have been, the later control room or switch board.
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There isn't a great deal more to see in here, and having found this on the visits, it was time to leave.


Anyway, that'll be all.
KP_
 

Wastelandr

Goes where the Buddleia grows
Regular User
Top notch reportage, was wondering when someone would post it again. There's something about that rusting early control room that's something else. I wonder if we'll ever see the main admin/control room building of the power station cracked again one day.
 

UrbandonedTeam

the north
Regular User
Top notch reportage, was wondering when someone would post it again. There's something about that rusting early control room that's something else. I wonder if we'll ever see the main admin/control room building of the power station cracked again one day.
you will someone just needs to go with some loving mace for the gypsies
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely covered, I really enjoyed my "solo" visit here (cos my mate couldnt manage the squeeze :rofl ) place had a lot more to offer than I expected
 

Speed

Got Epic Slow?
Regular User
Been a long time since I was in there now but even before we stumbled on the control room this was a great explore... I guess most of the signage and stuff is long gone now tho. Listen out for the Fire Gong ๐Ÿคฉ
 

KPUrban_

Surprisingly Unsurprising
Regular User
Nicely covered, I really enjoyed my "solo" visit here (cos my mate couldnt manage the squeeze :rofl ) place had a lot more to offer than I expected
Was definitely surprised by what is in here. For some daft reason the images I had in my head lead me to think it would be a solitary control panel amongst a dark and uninteresting building.
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Been a long time since I was in there now but even before we stumbled on the control room this was a great explore... I guess most of the signage and stuff is long gone now tho. Listen out for the Fire Gong ๐Ÿคฉ
fire gong ones were deff still there last yr
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely covered, this is a lovely place.
Good call posting it, it seems to be getting a lot of attention on fb recently
 

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