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Looking back at the building of Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station nearly 50 years ago

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Pictures Eddie Whitham

WITH Fiddler’s Ferry Power Station now closed we take a look back to when it was first being built, going on to dominate the Warrington skyline for half a century.

The coal-fired plant Fiddler’s Ferry power station was proposed in 1962 when a planning application was also submitted, with the first of four 500MW units coming online in 1971, and the site reaching full operation in 1973.
When SSE announced its closure last year, the site employed 158 staff, and SSE said it would seek to redeploy those, some working on decommissioning the plant and others given the offer of voluntary redundancy.
The power station’s memory will live on in its visual legacy including an appearance in the opening titles of the BBC comedy Two Pints of Lager and A Packet of Crisps.
One dramatic episode in its history came on Friday, January 13, 1984, when strong winds caused cooling tower B2 to collapse.

The official closure of the coal-fired power station, which became fully operational in 1973, was originally announced by SSE in June 2019.
At its peak, Fiddler’s Ferry had a capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW), producing enough electricity to power around two million homes.
During its lifetime it has produced around 393TWh (terawatt hours) – enough to power the entire UK for 15 months.

Key dates in its history include:
1962: Planning Permission proposed.
1971 First supply comes online
1973: Power station reaches full capacity.
1984: Cooling tower collpases in strong winds.
1990: Powergen takes ownership of the station following the dawn of privatisation and the break-up of the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB).
1995: A coal importing terminal built at Liverpool’s Gladstone Dock provides coal supplies to Fiddler’s Ferry on a ‘merry-go-round’ rail system.
1999: California-based Edison Mission Energy (EME) buys Fiddler’s Ferry.
2001: American Electric Power (AEP) acquires Fiddler’s Ferry from EME.
2004: SSE buys the station.
2004: Fiddler’s Ferry wins the British Safety Council’s Sword Of Honour.
2019: SSE announces closure of Fiddler’s Ferry.
2020: Fiddler’s Ferry officially closes.

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About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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