Richborough Power Station

Richborough, Kent, U.K. 

Demolished 2012

The Disappointed Tourist: Richborough Power Station, Ellen Harvey, 2024. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 24 x 18″ 61 x 46 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Richborough towers signaled you were nearly home – as a young child remembering a school visit at the end of a car journey or as a teenager using it as a signal to shove your Walkman into your pocket and collect your belongings after a day in Canterbury. Up to its demolition, local campaigners fought to keep the towers, arguing that they were part of the historical landscape and their use as a landmark for boats entering the River Stour. Whether mourning the loss of the iconic cooling towers or as a good riddance to an industrial eyesore, hundreds of people gathered to watch the demolition take place early on a Sunday morning in 2012. For me it was a positive change, leaving fossil fuels in the past and moving towards greener energy and creating my own curiosity for the sciences and for our climate crisis.  Kate B.

Also requested by Victoria P.

Richborough power station was a power station at the mouth of the Stour near Sandwich, that opened in 1962. It was originally coal-fired but was converted to burn first oil, and then an oil and water emulsion. Environmental concerns led to two lawsuits, both of which were settled out of court. One of the turbo-alternators was decommissioned in 1984 and the station ceased generating electricity in 1996. The towers were demolished in 2012. The original national grid interconnector now links to the offshore Thanet Wind Farm. There are plans to bring the site back into use as a green energy park.