Fawley Power Station

“Generating electricity since 1972, Fawley was an oil fired power station on the western shore of Southampton Water in Hampshire.

Commissioned by the CEGB, Fawley was built by Mitchell Construction, comprising 4 sets of 500mw parsons generating units, totalling 2GW capacity. Two units were mothballed in 1995, leaving 1GW capacity remaining.

The power station has a few unique and interesting architectural features. The boiler house is clad in marine grade glass arranged in a zig-zag pattern, which still looks modern and shiny to this day. By the late 1960s, not only the huge main buildings of power stations were designed to make a statement, attention to the ancillary buildings was also being drawn. No other power station reflects this more than the “flying saucer” design of the control building, a large round structure juxtaposed against the straight lines of the expansive turbine hall and towering boiler house behind. Flanking the control building with another huge contrast of design elements, the canteen building is formed from triangular concrete sections.

To minimise the visual impact the power station would have on the surroundings, Fawley was built in a 24 foot deep trench. Unusually, the turbine floor is at ground level, and the lower level of the turbine hall is within a basement. The result is the building, with the exception of the 650ft chimney, is hardly visible from the surrounding areas. The only place to view the building in its entirety is from the Solent or immediate shoreline.

Fawley was never used to full capacity. Being built just before the oil crisis of the 1970s meant it was expensive to run, despite being listed as the most efficient power station in the UK at the time. The power station opted out of the Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCPD), meaning it would not comply with new emissions regulations and therefore could operate for no more than 10,000 hours until the end of 2015. Owners RWE announced closure in 2012 and the station generated electricity for the last time on 31 March 2013.


Big shout out to the man and legend that is Howlinmadharriman….top explorer and all round nice guy.”








9 Comments on Fawley Power Station

  1. I was an Electrical Apprentice there from ’79 to ’83. The chimney has a lift and stairs in the middle of four flues. At 650 high I was enjoying views of the Solent long before the Spinnaker Tower was built. I also watched the Mary Rose being recovered and the QE2 leaving for the Falklands War in 1982 from this vantage point. I have many photos of the Power Stations prime.

    • Wow thanks for the information! I bet it was an incredible place to work. Sounds like you had some good memories there, it’s really nice to be able to share pictures like this with people such as yourself who have personal connections with a location. A return trip is on the cards as there’s much more I want to see including the top of the chimney 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. Managed to get into the grounds the day before yesterday. I was down in the area so I thought I’d try… but failed! A security van came sniffing within minutes so I had to hide in a prickle bush until he went off again. I’ve emailed the owners to ask permission as that seems to be the easiest way of getting in.

    Very good explore and well presented report!

  3. My 6 friends and I had the honor of the last guided tour of this incredible site yesterday. We were shown the amazing control centre and then saw inside the turbine shed. It is an awesome sight. I would have loved to have gone up the chimney but sadly it was off limits.

  4. This has now got wind turbines being shipped to and from now this is hard to get into a hole was made recently but security drive around parts I don’t know about night time so is hard to explore will repost as soon as with any info on way to explore without being caught

  5. Hi there, it’s a fantastic place. I’m hoping to make a film for the people of Fawley about Fawley Power Station and the transition to a development site. I’m pitching at the moment and wondered if I could use an image of yours ideally with the chimney in it?

    Also if Bob Woods is reading this, I’d love to discuss your memories of Fawley?

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