Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Upper Boat Power Station

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1902 the foundation stone of Upper Boat Power Station was laid by Sir Frederick Bramwell.

Bramwell and Harris, of Westminster, were consultants to the South Wales Electric Power Distribution Co.

Upper Boat was the principal power station to be built by the company, with smaller ones in Cwmbran, Bridgend and Neath.

1902 Construction started of the company's first power station at Pontypridd on the banks of the River Taff, one of the earliest central power stations in Britain (presumably this refers to what became known as Upper Boat Power Station); the station would be equipped with 5 generating sets each of 2,250kW, constructed by Willans and Robinson at Rugby, supplied with steam by 24 Niclausse boilers made by Willans and Robinson at Queen's Ferry near Chester; the generators were made by Ganz and Co of Budapest, and would produce 3-phase electricity at 12,000 volts[1]

1920 Steady growth of demand led to an order for new and more powerful machinery from C. A. Parsons and Co.

Even before this was commissioned in 1923, it was obvious the plant needed more power, and with the formation of the South Wales Electric Power Co Ltd in 1924, the capital was found.

While the 18,750kW Parsons set was being built and installed in the old engine room to meet the increased demand, the company laid down a definite policy for expansion.

It was time to enlarge the buildings, creating a whole new plant which would gradually replace the old.

1927 The new extensions were opened by Rt Hon Early of Plymouth, on April 26, 1927.

1936 After the passing of the Electricity Supply Act of 1936, Upper Boat became a selected station.

1937 The changeover to 50 Hz operation (from 25 Hz) was completed, which placed the station once more in the forefront of technical development.

1938 of South Wales Electric Power Co, 63,000 kW. capacity.

1938 The station began using pulverised fuel, when a Babcock and Wilcox boiler, evaporating 182,000lb of water per hour at a pressure of 650lb and a temperature of 850°F, was installed.

Two similar boilers were added in 1939 and another in 1940, taking the capacity to 93MW.

1940 A cooling tower was erected to supplement the river cooling; it has a capacity of 1,500,000 to 2,250,000 gallons per hour.

1948 Employing around 400 people

The plant continued to thrive for the next 20 years

1972 Closed down.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times May 1, 1902
  • [1] In Your Area