Sheffield Industrial Icons - Tinsley Cooling Towers

Posted on 7th December 2009 by Mark Tierney

The Tinsley Towers were demolished in a controlled explosion in the early hours of Sunday, 24th August 2008 in front of thousands of people from South Yorkshire. People gathered at the Meadowhall shopping centre to watch the towers brought down. The two iconic concrete structures were just 17 metres away from the Tinsley Viaduct. The viaduct is a double-deck structure carrying the M1 on the top deck which had to be closed for the demolision.

Antony Gormley, creator of the Angel of the North and the iron men, said it would be an act of cultural vandalism to knock them down – I totally agree with him!

If you are in Sheffield town centre you can view five of these images in Sheffield’s best pub - the Frog and Parrot which is not far from the City Hall on Division Street.

The History of the Tinsley Towers

The Blackburn Meadows Power Station was built between 1937 and 1942. The two Tinsley cooling towers were numbered 6 and 7 and were two of seven cooling towers that stood on the site. The towers weighed about 3,074 and 2,019 tonnes respectively.

In addition to Blackburn Meadows Power Station, two older coal-fired power stations built in the 1900s once stood on the site and generated electricity.

In the late 1960s, the M1 was built around the cooling towers while the power station was still operational. The two remaining towers, which were 250ft high, stood around 17 metres away from the motorway.

The main power station was demolished in the 1980s. The cooling towers remained standing as engineers did not have the expertise to bring them down safely without compromising the integrity of the motorway.

Tagged under: sheffield, tinsley cooling towers


About the author: Mark Tierney

Mark Tierney is a Yorkshire based Contemporary Wedding Photographer covering the UK and beyond.