A decade since the demolition of Richborough Power Station towers

Towers demolition Photo Frank Leppard

Ten years ago today the east Kent landscape changed forever as demolition saw the Richborough Power Station towers come crashing down.

Decommissioning of the power station started in 1996 when much of the site was cleared leaving the turbine hall, accommodation block, chimney and cooling towers.

The cooling towers and chimney were brought to ground level in a controlled explosion on March 11, 2012.

Photo Michael Milham

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the controlled blasts as the landmark three 97m cooling towers and  single 127m chimney stack were razed to the ground.

The Central Electricity Generating Board started construction of the Richborough power station in 1958, with Unit 1 coming online in December 1963, and Unit 2 following in August 1963. It opened as a 342MW coal-fired station, using coal from Kent and other coalfields.

It was converted to burn oil in summer 1971 and further converted in 1989 to burn a proprietary oil and water emulsion called Orimulsion.

Photo Frank Leppard

The site was also chosen for an experimental 1MW wind turbine, which was at that time the largest ever installed in the UK with permission given in 1987, and the turbine becoming live in 1989.

After growing concerns over the environmental effects of the Orimulsion fuel in the main power station court action was taken in two separate actions, with both cases settled out of court. the 360MW station ceased generating in 1996.

Photo Frank Leppard

Following the plant closure, the majority of the equipment was removed during a strip out programme, which also saw the demolition of a number of the buildings, leaving only a few outbuildings, the office block and the landmark cooling towers and chimney standing.

Photo Frank Leppard

The turbine hall was the last part of the power station to be demolished in 2016.

The power station is immortalised in several scenes of the 2008 film Son of Rambow, and was the location for the 2003 Channel 4 television series Full Metal Challenge.

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The site is now the base of the Nemo Link project consisting of high voltage electricity cables under the sea between the former Richborough Towers site and Herdersbrug in Belgium.



  1. Preferred the way fred dibnah use to do it ‘ did ur like that ! ‘

    He wasnt very environmentally friendly lol

  2. I remember going there on a school tour in 1982,going in the station,and turnbine hall. I remember my late mum told she knew a workman who died there from falling off one the towers when being built.

  3. I always remember as a child driving from my hometown of Dover to visit Dreamland,the rise of the towers in the distance, i loved them as they always reminded me of my trips to the fair in Margate. I was actually quite sad when they were demolished.

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