Take a look inside this Norfolk coastal power station in the 1950s

An aerial view of Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1984. Photo: Archant Library

An aerial view of Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1984. Photo: Archant Library - Credit: Archant Library

It was 25 years ago when explosions and the crash of debris drowned out the applause and cheers which erupted during the demolition of the Great Yarmouth Power Station.  

But today we are turning back the clocks to the 1950s and exploring the facility during its construction and early days.

Technicians at work in a control room for the Great Yarmouth Power Station on September 22, 1958.

Technicians at work in a control room for the Great Yarmouth Power Station. Date: September 22, 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

South Denes Power Station under construction at Great Yarmouth on March 28, 1956.

South Denes Power Station under construction at Great Yarmouth on March 28, 1956. - Credit: Archant Library

In the spring of 1954 excavation for the station's foundations commenced and 900 people were employed there during the peak construction years.

At the time the town felt huge excitement and enthusiasm for the new power station. Some observers floated the idea that the electricity generator would increase the temperature of the sea nearby. 

A worker on a walkway inside Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1957 before it officially opened in 1958.

A worker on a walkway inside Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1957 before it officially opened in 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

Technicians stand by scientific equipment and look over reports inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1957.

Technicians stand by scientific equipment and look over reports inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1957. - Credit: Archant Library

This intriguing notion was, of course, false, but the speculation arose from the fact that the nine million gallons of water pumped out every hour from the station would be 10 degrees warmer than the sea it entered. 

The design of the building was approved by the Fine Arts Commission and many contemporary commentators insisted it would become a showpiece development project.

A worker looks at machinery inside the Great Yarmouth Power station in 1958

Inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station at South Denes, which officially opened on September 26, 1958. Date: September 22, 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

Machinery inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station at South Denes. Date: September 22, 1958.

Machinery inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station at South Denes. Date: September 22, 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

A glimpse inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station on September 22, 1958

A glimpse inside the Great Yarmouth Power Station on September 22, 1958. The facility was demolished on May 5, 1997. - Credit: Archant Library

Towering machinery inside one of the buildings at the Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1958.

Towering machinery inside one of the buildings at the Great Yarmouth Power Station. Date: September 22, 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

Its admirers included Sir Edmund Bacon who officially opened the station in the autumn of 1958 in his capacity as Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

During the impressive civic ceremony, he declared: "In these days we have our feelings about modern art, modern music and modern this and modern that. We may like them or we may dislike them. But I do think that modern industrial architecture does stand out, and I find this great building gives one great pleasure."

Towering machinery inside one of the buildings at the Great Yarmouth Power Station in 1958.

Towering machinery inside one of the buildings at the Great Yarmouth Power Station. Date: September 22, 1958. - Credit: Archant Library

The Norwich Belle vessel sails past the Great Yarmouth herring reduction plant with the power station in the background

The pleasure tripper Norwich Belle sails past the redundant herring reduction plant in 1964, which was built to process surplus catches but the industry went into decline quickly and it shut in 1963. Upstream is the South Denes Power Station, also long gone. - Credit: Archant Library

The Great Yarmouth Power Station captured at dusk seen from across the river on August 18, 1959.

The Great Yarmouth Power Station captured at dusk seen from across the river. Date: August 18, 1959. - Credit: Archant Library

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The power station had a 360-foot chimney — 45 feet higher than Norwich Cathedral spire making it the county’s tallest structure. 

Extensions were completed by 1960 and the facility operated until the late 1980s when it was decommissioned. 

At 7:30am on May 5, 1997 the Great Yarmouth skyline changed forever when 100kg of Semtex explosives toppled the 3500 tons chimney and demolished the boilerhouse — closing one chapter in the history of the town's energy industry

Did you work at the Great Yarmouth Power Station or attend its demolition? Email benjamin.craske@archant.co.uk with your memories.

For more old photos and articles about Norfolk history and heritage, subscribe to our fortnightly Through the Decades email newsletter. Sign up by clicking here.

Controlled demolition of the Great Yarmouth Power Station, explosion seen from across the river in May 1997

The Great Yarmouth Power Station came tumbling down on May 5, 1997 when 100kg of Semtex demolished the two remaining structures. - Credit: Archant Library

Dust billows from the wreckage of what was the Great Yarmouth Power Station after it was demolished in 1997

Dust billows from the wreckage of what was the Great Yarmouth Power Station after it was demolished on the morning of May 5, 1997. - Credit: Archant Library

Controlled demolition of the Great Yarmouth Power Station, explosion seen from across the river in May 1997

The chimney of the Great Yarmouth Power Station came tumbling down on May 5, 1997 when 100kg of Semtex demolished the two remaining structures. - Credit: Archant Library

Controlled demolition of the Great Yarmouth Power Station, explosion seen from across the river in May 1997

The Great Yarmouth Power Station came tumbling down on May 5, 1997 when 100kg of Semtex demolished the two remaining structures. - Credit: Archant Library