Deptford Power Station

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Deptford Power Station
Greenwich Riverfront, 1973 - - 477402.jpg
Deptford West Power Station
Viewed from the east in July 1973
Deptford Power Station is located in Greater London
Deptford Power Station
Location of Deptford Power Station in Greater London
Country England
Location Greater London
Coordinates 51°28′57″N 0°01′13″W / 51.4824°N 0.0203°W / 51.4824; -0.0203Coordinates: 51°28′57″N 0°01′13″W / 51.4824°N 0.0203°W / 51.4824; -0.0203
Commission date 1891 (Depford East)
1929 (Deptford West)
Decommission date 1983 (Deptford West)
Operator(s) London Electric Supply Corporation 1891-1925, London Power Company 1925-48, British Electricity Authority 1948-54, Central Electricity Authority 1954-57, CEGB 1957-83
Thermal power station
Primary fuel Coal-fired
Power generation
Nameplate capacity 158 MW (Deptford West)
grid reference TQ374778
A London Electricity Supply Corporation sub-station in Greenwich High Road 2009

Deptford Power Station was a coal-fired power station on the south bank of the River Thames at Deptford, south east London and is regarded as the first modern high-voltage power station in the world.[1]


Deptford East[edit]

The first station was designed in 1887 by Sebastian de Ferranti for the London Electric Supply Corporation and installed with two 1,250 hp Hick, Hargreaves reciprocating steam engines. It was located at the Stowage, a site to the west of the mouth of Deptford Creek once used by the East India Company. Built on an unprecedented scale and pioneering the use of high voltage (10,000V) AC current, generating 800 kilowatts. The station was intended as a large scale plant to supply central London. The need to lay distribution cables across the streets of numerous local authorities stirred up a Board of Trade Inquiry, and concerns about the wisdom of concentrating so much generating capacity at a single site. The company also lost customers due to early teething troubles and the station was eventually opened in 1891 on a smaller scale than envisaged. However it was still the world's largest power station at the time. The original building, known as Deptford East, remained in use until 1957.[2]

Deptford West[edit]

A new Deptford West station was built on a former dry dock site and opened in 1929 by the London Power Company. Designed by Leonard Pearce, it had a single large concrete chimney at the northern, riverside end. In 1948 the LPC was nationalised under the Electricity Act 1947. In 1953 the station was extended following the same design, the new section having a similar chimney at each end. This section was known as Deptford West HP* (High Pressure). Generation ceased on 31 October 1983; the station had a generating capacity of 158 MW.[3] The power station was demolished in 1991 and in 1992 the site was redeveloped for housing. The large coaling jetty in the Thames survives. A nearby park developed from a derelict site has been named Ferranti Park.

Coal supply[edit]

Coal was brought by sea from North East England or South Wales. The LPC and its nationalised successors had its own fleet of coastal colliers for this service, such as the 2,268 GRT SS Francis Fladgate built in 1933 and 2,904 GRT SS Oliver Bury built in 1945.[4]


  1. ^ Ferranti TimelineMuseum of Science and Industry (Accessed 22-02-2012)
  2. ^ "Ferranti's Deptford Power Station". CEGB. HISTELEC NEWS. Archived from the original on 2008-06-11. Retrieved 2008-08-10. 
  3. ^ Mr. Redmond (16 January 1984). "Coal-fired Power Stations". Hansard. Retrieved 1 September 2009. 
  4. ^ Anderson, James B (2008). Sommerville, Iain, ed. "Ships built by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company Ltd: arranged by date of launch". Welcome to Burntisland. Iain Sommerville. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Forth Banks Power Station
Largest Power Station in the UK
Succeeded by
Neptune Bank Power Station