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Broomgrove Power Stations

Tramway Power Station

Built in 1905 to generate electricity specifically for the Hastings trams, the first power station in Ore Valley was situated at the bottom of a dirt track which was later built-up and named as Parker Road.

At this time electricity was generated by the tram companies' own plant and not taken from the county borough's power network. Electricity for all the borough’s trams was supplied from here, with substations situated at both Bulverhythe and Silverhill.

Power was generated by six coal fuelled engines totalling 3150hp. These were housed in the main power station building which had a distinctive 175ft high steel plate chimney and was serviced by a railway siding from SECR.

The old Tram Power Station's life came to an end during 1925 when electricity supplies were transferred to what was the newly built coal plant next door. The old station was slowly demolished over a two year period following its closure.

Broomgrove Coal Fired Power Station

Following the closure of Hastings Council’s electricity station in Earl Street, the Broomgrove power station was built in Ore Valley in 1925.

Power was produced using two Brush Ljungstr'o'm Turbo Alternators together with an engine that was transferred from the old Earl Street power station. The new sets delivered outputs of 5,000 kw and 3,000 kw respectively, while the re-used engine was initially single phase and only capable of generating 1125 kw. This was subsequently converted to 3 phase which increased its output to 1,500 kw. Total power output from the new station was 9,500 kw at normal running rating. The voltage generated was 6,600 volts 3 phase at 50 cycles. But provisions were in hand to install a further turbine of 7,000 kw to maximise the output to 16,500 kw.

The building housing the power plant was constructed on a steel framework covered in an asbestos protected metal which consists of bitumen-asbestos protected corrugated sheets, for the walls and roof. It was claimed that this construction was far cheaper than brick or concrete and with a much longer life span than ordinary corrugated sheeted iron, with no condensation occurring due to natural atmospheric changes in temperature. The main stanchions were carried on concrete foundations at a depth of 16 feet below ground level.

Cooling water for the plant was drawn from a combination of the town's drinking water supply and surface water respectively.

The coal-fired station had specially built railway sidings that were quite spread out due to the fact that enough space had to be provided to hold full trains of coal wagons. In addition, there was a coal off loading area where the wagons were lashed down on a special tipping rail to send its load down a chute to the coal stock pile below ground level.

The coal-fired power station was in operation for four decades and was replaced in 1966 by the gas turbine station that was then built alongside. The older power station was demolished following switch-over and the railway sidings were all removed as only a single track was needed to deliver the oil to the storage tanks.

Broomgrove Gas Turbine Power Station

Built alongside the previous coal powered station (which was demolished soon after the switchover), the most recent power station went into service during 1966.

Power was generated utilising two gas turbine sets that produced 55 megawatts each. Each set consisted of four Rolls-Royce Avon engines that had been adapted to burn diesel oil, developed from the engines used in aircraft such as the Hawker Hunter and Canberra Bomber.

The building consisted of a steel frame clad with 14 inch (355mm) thick brick walls with no windows. Access doors were double-skinned to reduce noise emissions. The compressor intakes were at each end of the station, at roof level. Silencing was provided at the air intakes by attenuators fitted between the exhaust gas ducting and the bases of the two chimney stacks.

The chimneys were 200 ft high and constructed of concrete, lined with heat resistant bricks and topped with a stainless steel cap. Exhaust gases left each chimney at 300°C and with a velocity of about 92mph.

An emergency diesel generator driven exciter set was housed in a separate building. This was capable of starting up both main turbines consecutively.

Five oil storage tanks held the gas turbine fuel oil supplies on site. These had a total capacity of 4,440 tonnes, but this was only enough fuel to continuously generate at full load for 130 hours as the oil was consumed at about 100 gallons per set per hour

The fuel was delivered by rail to the power station's own siding which was located a few hundred metres north east of Ore Railway Station.

Cooling water for the station auxiliaries and alternator was provided from a man-made concrete pond measuring approximately 50 sq ft x 20 ft deep. After cooling the engines and turbines the hot water was sent to the cooling towers and finally returned to the pond. The pond was topped up with mains water on more or less permanent basis all the time the plant was operational.

This power station was in service until 1979 when it was deemed uneconomical due to the increasing costs of oil-based fuels. However, turbine number 1 was recommissioned during the 1984/5 miners' strike to compensate for the closure of some coal-fired stations. Subsequently the power station was made redundant once again after the privatisation of the UK power companies.

After laying derelict for nearly 15 years the power station building suffered a serious fire in May 2000 when about 30,000 old tyres that had been dumped there caught light. Final demolition of the building did not take place until 2003, mainly due to the dangerous structure which including lots of asbestos. It ended up costing almost £1.7 million to clear the site.

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