Report - - Thorpe Marsh Revisited - April 2012 | Industrial Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Thorpe Marsh Revisited - April 2012

Idle Hands

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
OK, my first report for 28DL: I know it's been covered many times before but I hope some of these shots of Thorpe Marsh are different enough to be report worthy given the recent action on site.

I'm sure everyone knows the history but here are a few facts and figures:

The go-ahead for Thorpe Marsh was granted in 1958, and plans were drawn up for the site to host two 550MW stations, much to the horror of those in the industry at the time that thought it would be too problematic to work. They may well have been right as the plant was said to be beset with problems in almost every area. The winter of 1962/3 was the coldest for a century and only added to the problems, freezing the gauge panels, vents and drain lines and hampering the initial commissioning of the unit in 1963.

The CEGB's Northern Project Group was responsible for delivering the project, assisted by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners civil engineers, architects Watson & Coates, and a Mrs Haywood was employed as landscape consultant. The official opening was held on 2 June 1967.

From the outset, Thorpe Marsh had only been planned to have a 30 year generating life, closing in 1993. By 1983 it was decided to spend £40million upgrading the station to extend its life by a further ten years, but by the time privatisation happened in 1991 it became apparent that National Power didn't share this vision. The demand projected a decade earlier hadn't been reached, and on 8 June 1993 Thorpe Marsh became a victim of the over-capacity of the power generating industry - the station was to close on 31 March 1994.

18 years (and a few hours) later, at 7am on 1 April 2012, the first of the six remaining cooling towers - tower 2C - was pulled down with a giant 100mm steel cable that had been threaded through it.

I'd enjoyed a very leisurely wander round one day last April and was keen to go back, so this time went twice on successive evenings with a non-member and a dog. Partly this was to compensate for the appalling light on the first evening, but we did manage to see the ruins of 2C before the lot was flattened.

On to the pictures...

Waiting for the demolition crew to finish - the weather had been terrible all day but at least dried up as we got out of the car...


Apologies for the colour popping here...


And we're in...


The remains of 2C





Now as I said, the light was really flat so an impromptu trip back the evening after was hastily arranged. On arrival this time I spotted four other explorers getting out of a 4x4 so hung back a bit. They all had camera gear with them though so we exchanged quick pleasantries. If it was anyone from on here, it was nice to meet you - I'm not really sure what the protocol is for identifying yourself in such situations!






Second time round, and the remains of 2C had been flattened. Each tower was 340 feet high, 260 feet in diameter at the base, and 5,850 tonnes heavy. Looking at it crumpled and flattened on the ground, it doesn't seem like there was all that much to it...



The last delivery of coal came in here in June 1993, nine months before closure, owing to the fact that there was a 44 acre coal store on site. The aptly named 56077 Thorpe Marsh Power Station dropped it off.





And that was that - sunset over Thorpe Marsh. I turned as we were leaving and just got this final shot of the moon rising. There's still plenty to see, even though a lot has gone since last year.


Thanks for looking :)
Last edited:

Idle Hands

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I must confess to having a major thing for Thorpe Marsh, and since I was in the area I headed in for what may be the last time. Rather than post a new thread I'm just putting an update on this one for anyone interested. There are only two towers remaining now, and they are both roped and ready to go very soon. Having stood silently for so long it feels quite sad that this landmark will soon be wiped from the skyline forever...






You can really get a sense of how thin the walls actually are when you see a hole punched through and a steel cable threaded through it...


Cheers for looking :)

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