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Report - - Nechells 'B' Power Station Remnants - Birmingham - May 2017 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Nechells 'B' Power Station Remnants - Birmingham - May 2017

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#1
Nechells 'B', built in the late 1940s, opened in the early 1950s. This was 'Birmingham's power station' sitting just south of Spaghetti Junction it was a familiar landmark until it was demolished in the early 1980s. However as with many stations all was not demolished, a small section of the station remained as it was still required to route the local 11kv supply.

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Nechells 'B' Boiler Houses in the 1980s

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Cooling Towers Viewed from the M6 Northbound

The site sat derelict for many years after closure but in 2000 it was finally redeveloped into 'Star City', an entertainment complex featuring cinema and bowling alley. The remaining switch house must have still been in use at this time as it was incorporated into the rear of the Star City site and is still visible under advertising hoardings when travelling along the M6 Northbound

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Nowerdays 'Star City'..mostly

As many of you probably know by now i have been hunting old power station remains for many years and the remains at Nechells had always made me wonder about what was still left. If im honest being part of the Star City complex i didn't think we would have a hope in hell of getting inside and never really bothered to have a proper look until recently. This was mainly prompted by finally getting hold of a 1950s brochure for the station which contained maps and photos of the building. It turned out that the part they had retained was the former main entrance and more importantly contained the main station control room! Checking the photos against google maps it was clear the room would still be there but there was only one way to find what was left inside..

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Control Room in the 1950s

To my surprise my first recce of the building showed a pretty drab, derelict affair. I had imagined it would be well looked after but it appeared to be totally out of use now. Sure enough returning with Dweeb the next day we found our way inside and it was clear straight away it was no longer connected to the grid, merely being used as a storage shed.

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Main Entrance Stairs and Lobby

It also became clear after some poking around that not only was the building no longer a substation it actually seemed to be having some sort of restoration work with a log sheet in the foyer showing people working in there only a week previously and a freshly painted ceiling.

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The moment of truth

To be honest, by this point was had seem some really good bits and some less good bits but obviously the main event would be the control room so il start there. We cautiously made our way up to it and i stuck my head round the door.

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Boo! Its empty..

Unfortunately not so much to see. At first i feared we had been a matter of weeks late (after wondering what was in there for the past 10+ years) but in actual fact i think the panels had been gone for quite a long time judging by the state of the plywood used to board over the holes. Certainly not done recently. You win some you loose some i guess!

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Dweeb checks out the best remaining part, the skylight and lighting rig.

Of course there was a bit more too the place than just the control room and i have to say i wasn't too disappointed over all. The main halls downstairs that would once have contained water feed pumps were too dark for good photos but contained some lovely tile work and a whole wall of epic safety posters. The cable basement was also extensive and provided several comedy moments. All in all a great few hours exploring! Roll on the next one. The list is not empty.

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Stairwell

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Signage

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Where the panels once stood

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Safety Posters

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Many more rooms were nicely labelled

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Largely empty now tho

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Just a few hints of grandeur

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Many fixtures and fittings had been kept

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Cable basement was extensive

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But also a little damp in places

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So lets just have more safety posters

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Last edited:

Oxygen Thief

Admin
Staff member
Admin
#5
That's excellent Speed. I know it's stripped out etc but I mean, wow, it's still there at least.
 

Speed

Got Epic?
Staff member
Moderator
#6
Well yeh. Just makes me wonder if there was more to see a few years or even months ago tho. I have no idea when it stopped being part of the power grid really.

Not so many left to find now. I always say that but really there's alot less than there was a decade ago! Most have just been demo'd unfortunately.
 

Baggy trousers

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#7
To be honest, I always wondered if this was still there too.. I'm. Quite suprised that it is as the locations been heavily developediscounted over the years.. well done for getting in and posting it up chap! Wonder what they are planning to do with it?
 

Speed

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#8
Im not sure it was that recently. The transformer bays out front were like a forest and Bing maps shows them being like that in 2008 (or earlier). Doesn't mean for sure the place was totally abandoned at that point but it seems strange to build concrete retaining walls around the transformer bays if there's no transformers in them, they must have been there in 2000. I suspect its been out of use for ages but we just never realised. Most subs like this are the same. There's another one where the 'A' station was that i got in years ago and that was all empty too. Its a builders yard now i think. A few years back, if you looked around where these old stations had been a good number had parts still left in situe but unfortunately now 90% of that has gone suggesting the system was updated a long time ago.. Little was explored of course.
 

Boba Low

____/
Regular User
#10
I do wonder if the control block retention that doesn't seem too uncommon has anything to do with the expense of disconnecting them? Everything's long switched off at weston point but the control room with its two resident engineers dozing at 5am, and I can think of at least one other older generation national grid station control room entirely intact sat unloved on a big substation!
 

Speed

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Moderator
#11
Yeh. I guess today it's all done with computers and a networking from one room somwhere. Back when these stations closed im guessing local control of the grid still needed a man in a room throwing switches so they had to keep them. Either that or they just routed cables through thier basements that needed to be retained and the room on top stayed by default..

Currently I know of at least 4 unseen ones like this where the room at least is still there (with unknown contents/use) and one where I know it's totally intact and disused waiting for an explorer to bite.
 

bubblehead

you lost the game
Regular User
#12
FFS, I knew that they kept part of the power station when I worked on the construction of Star City. Never gave a thought that it could have been left untouched back then
 

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