Power station dominated Cliff Quay for decades

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:54 02 September 2015

Cliff Quay power station, Ipswich, was badly damaged by a fire in September 1982. It never generated electricity again.

Cliff Quay power station, Ipswich, was badly damaged by a fire in September 1982. It never generated electricity again.

Ipswich power station dominated Cliff Quay during the decades after the second world war as it provided power for the National Grid.

The station was built in 1949, one of a number of new plants built across the country to provide the electricity needed to power the post-war recovery.

It had a functional, utilitarian, appearance – but still became a familiar landmark on the bank of the River Orwell.

Its construction, and maintenance in the years that followed, became controversial because a great deal of asbestos was used when it was built – years before the health dangers of the material became known.

In later decades dozens of construction and maintenance workers suffered ill-health as a result of working with asbestos – in particular a number died relatively young from mesothelioma, a lung cancer heavily linked to asbestos exposure.

During the 50s, 60s, and 70s the power station was a vital link in the nation’s electricity supply chain – although the nuclear revolution in the 1960s and 1970s made town and city centre stations like Cliff Quay increasingly unpopular.

A devastating fire hit the station in September 1982, after which it never generated electricity again.

It was formally decommissioned in 1985 but its chimneys remained in place until they were demolished in 1994.

The power station generated 276 Megawatts of electricity by burning coal which was mainly delivered by boat from its own jetty on the Orwell.

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