The Lancashire Electric Power Company

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The Lancashire Electric Power Company was one of the largest private electricity companies in the UK. It was established by Act of Parliament in 1900.


Its original power station was the Radcliffe Power Station which was opened by the Earl of Derby on 9 October 1905. This had two 1,500 kW turbo sets manufactured by British Thomson-Houston, generated at 10 kV (the first power station in the UK to transmit by bare electric conductors at 10kV).

The first customer was the Acme Spinning Company in Pendlebury which with 75,000 spindles was the first cotton spinning mill in Lancashire to be designed for powering by electricity.

The plant was soon duplicated with six boilers feeding four 1,500 kW sets. The equipment was so simple that the whole power station could be operated by a shift of six or seven men.

It reached full capacity in December 1922 with ten sets giving 42,375 kW.[citation needed]

A second power station at Padiham opened in 1926 with a capacity of 30,625 kW and a third at Kearsley in November 1929 with eventually two 32,000 kW and two 51,600 kW sets. Kearsley was able to burn waste material from local factories.

The company was nationalised in 1948 into the North Western Electricity Board (NWEB) when the total capacity was 284,750 kW.

Radcliffe Power Station closed in 1959, Kearsley in 1981. Padiham was replaced by a new power station on an adjacent site in the late 1950s (Padiham "B") but finally closed in 1993.

The company pioneered accurate metering with its own Meter and Testing Department in Walkden.

See also[edit]