Monument record MDR14200 - Cooling towers, Willington Power Station, Willington

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

The cooling towers at Willington were components of the two Willington power stations developed between 1954 and 1960. Power generation continued on the site until March 1998. The two power stations formed a significant part of the post-war development of the National Grid, the concept of which, to replace small 'town' generating stations with purpose-built large capacity stations linked together to provide electricity wherever it was needed, had been developed in the 1920s. The designs for station 'A' were developed by the consulting engineers Ewbank and Partners, who also oversaw its construction and commissioning. The two stations were coal powered, and were served by five cooling towers, which took their water from the nearby River Trent. The closure of the site began in 1993, the 'A' station being closed in May 1995 and the final generating unit of station 'B' was closed in March 1999. Demolition began soon afterwards and had been substantially completed by the end of 2003, apart from the five cooling tower shells. These surviving elements of the two power stations remain highly visible structures in the flat landscape of the Trent valley. The five natural draught, hyperbolic cooling towers were built from concrete and are 300ft high. They have diameters of 145ft at the top, 122ft at the throat, and 218ft at the base. They were built in two phases, two towers for station 'A' and then three for station 'B', the latter set at right angles to the north of the original pair. Each tower had an effective cooling surface of 858,000 square feet. They are of a standard design for the their period, which was based on European designs of the 1930s. The towers were designed to cool the exhaust vapour of the generating turbines with water and return the water to the river from whence it was drawn. In operation, water was piped to the lower portion of the cooling tower in to a complex network of pipes or troughs ending with sprinklers. A fine mist of water was then sprayed on to a timber or asbestos lattice of staging and screens filling the lower 4-5m of the tower, with the water being cooled via natural evaporation aided by air being drawn upwards by the tower above. Any water droplets carried by this updraft were intercepted by a layer of louvers positioned above the sprinklers. As part of the decommissioning process, all of the internal elements of the cooling towers were removed from the concrete tower shells. In 2006, English Heritage was asked to consider the issuing of a Certificate of Immunity (COI) from Listing for the cooling towers. This was confirmed on the 28th March 2008. Since that time proposals have ben developed for a new power station on the site and planning consent has been granted for both the new station and for the demolition of the towers. The COI was renewed on the 9th June 2014. (1)

Sources/Archives (1)

  • <1> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 2014. Advice Report: Willington Cooling Towers. Case Number 1417358.



Grid reference Centred SK 3109 2889 (299m by 428m)

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Record last edited

Nov 1 2016 3:47PM

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