This was definitely a site I had a soft spot for. Unfortunately, I got to the game too late – in 2018 I managed a 35-45 minute explore whilst I was on a 6th form trip to nearby Calshot Castle but I didn’t see much. A lot had been ripped out.
For my much more in depth article regarding the control room, please click here.
Commission Date: 1972.
Decommission Date: 2013.
Capacity: 2,000MW (four units).
Cooling Towers: none – sea water was used as coolant.
Chimney: one 200 meter (650ft) multiflue stack.
Fuel Type(s): heavy fuel oil.
Control System: CUTLASS, never modernised.
Boiler Manufacturer: John Thompson LTD.
Turbine Generator Manufacturer: Parsons.
Architect: Colin Morse of Farmer and Dark.
Fawley Power Station was one of the crown jewels of the Central Electricity Generating Board power stations, whilst also a thorn in its side. Planning for Fawley began in the early 1960s, and land adjacent to the ExxonMobil owned Fawley Oil Refinery on the banks of the River Solent was purchased by the CEGB. The fuel type that was chosen was heavy fuel oil that could be directly supplied via a pipeline from the adjacent refinery. The power station was designed by Colin Morse of Farmer and Dark, and built between 1965 and 1971 and comprised of four 500MW generating units. The structure was unique in the fact that it had a large de-aerator building clad in marine grade glass. The building’s design was magnificent and stood out from the low lying lands, its sharply defined lines and 200 meter tall chimney standing proud, juxtaposing the flying saucer shaped control room. However, despite its capacity, Fawley was never used to its full potential thanks to the oil crisis of 1973 which saw the price of crude oil shoot sky high. As a consequence, Fawley operated intermittently. It came into its own between 1984 and 1985 during the miners’ strikes which saw coal stocks at coal fired power stations rapidly dwindling. Fawley was fired up to help support the National Grid. In 1995, two units were mothballed – their control desks and flue gas ducting leading from the boilers to the chimney were removed, leaving the power station with a generating capacity of 1,000MW.
In 1990, the Central Electricity Generating Board was dissolved and the power industry was privatised. Fawley Power Station was passed to National Power in whose hands it remained until 2001, whereupon National Power became Innogy plc. In 2002, Innogy plc was acquired by German company RWE, and it was rebraned RWE nPower. Fawley remained in the ownership of RWE nPower until 2017 when it was sold to a consortium of developers. In 2018, demolition of Fawley began – in October 2019, the turbine hall and de-aerator bay were blown up, followed by boilers 1 and 2 in March 2021, then boilers 3 and 4 in August 2021, then the chimney and maintenance workshops in October 2021. The control room and transformer bays were demolished throughout 2022.
September 2018… I managed a 35-40 minute explore when I managed to sneak away from a 6th form trip to Calshot Castle. I didn’t have a camera with me as I didn’t know that Calshot was near Fawley and didn’t think to take it!
September 2019… literally a month before the demolition, a friend and I went and explored it. Annoyingly, the demolition workers were working that weekend which made it doubly hard to sneak in. But, we persevered and managed to sneak into a part of the turbine hall. Sadly, we were spotted and one photo was all I could get which annoyed me to no ends. Unfortunately, everything in the turbine hall had been ripped out so it was nothing but a shell. Enjoy the photos!