Posts Tagged ‘power station’

More Marylebone 1987

Thursday, August 20th, 2020
Marylebone Station, Marylebone, London, 1987 87-5d-36-positive_2400
Marylebone Station

I suppose for many people Marylebone is the name of a station (though some will connect it more with its cricket club.) The station was the last London terminus to be built, opened in 1899 and never completed, with only four platforms of eight ever built. It lost most of its express services in 1960 and was only saved from closure and demolition by a thriving commuter service from Aylesbury. I think the train here must be one of those used on that route. Marylebone provided one of the few successes of the privatisation of British Rail, generally a triumph of dogma over sense, with the setting up in 1996 of Chiltern Railways. Among other services they provide a pleasant route to stations to Birmingham with comfortable trains and some very cheap tickets, part of the old ‘Great Central’ Network which could probably have been revived much more sensibly and at far lower cost than the ridiculous HS2 project.

Regents Canal, Maida Hill Tunnel entrance, Lisson Grove, Westminister, 1987 87-4d-21-positive_2400

I had wrongly captioned this image earlier, thinking it showed the mouth of the Maida Hill tunnel, but although it was taken very close to there it is actually looking away from it, and the black hole at the end of the water is the bridge under Lisson Grove. The tunnel is hidden from my view here, some way down and a few yards to the right of where I was standing.

Entrance, Maida Hill Tunnel, Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-41-positive_2400

I went down the steps leading to the canal towpath and took a picture of a boat entering the tunnel. The previous image shows the top of the structure crossing the canal over the mouth of the tunnel which carries electrical cables from the nearby Grove Road power station in St. John’s Wood which closed in 1969 – with the site now housing two major National Grid sub-stations.

There is no towpath in the 249m long tunnel, which is only wide enough for a single narrow boat; boats have to wait at the entrance until the tunnel is clear.

Regent's Canal, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-54-positive_2400

Here you see the canal under the cable bridge.

CEGB,  Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-45-positive_2400

And this is the long wall of the power station site in Lodge Road. Although it looks very forbidding I’m told it was – at least in the old days – a very pleasant place to work. Coal used to come to the power station from a siding off the lines into Marylebone Station, though possibly at some time it also came by canal.

Volkswagen, Lodge Rd, St John's Wood, Westminster, 1987 87-5c-46-positive_2400

The Volkswagen workshops were opposite, and a little further west on the south side of the canal were the works of the confusingly named Thames Bank Iron Company, Iron Founders and Heating Engineers who made radiators and other heating equipment, and, according to their lorry parked in front of the building next to some pipes, Drainage Systems.

Thames Bank Iron Company, Lisson Grove, Westminster, 1977 87-5c-43-positive_2400

The pictures show a rather different side of Marylebone – and indeed London – than we now normally think of. They are a stone’s throw from the leafy streets of St John’s Wood with its billionaire oligarchs and from Lords Cricket Ground. But until a few years before I made these pictures, London was very much a manufacturing city. Things had been changing for some years, but it was Thatcher that really put the boot in, moving the country away from manufacturing and into services. And this de-industrialisation was one of the themes behind my pictures of a post-industrial London.

More pictures on page 4 of my 1987 London Photos.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr


End rewarding Drax for pollution

Friday, August 9th, 2019

I’ve never felt bad about having a bonfire in the garden. We generate a lot of small branches from various shrubs and trees that have to be regularly cut back, and it’s material that mostly won’t compost. And although we have several large compost bins, we’ve found from experience that they don’t get hot enough to destroy a few really tough and troublesome weeds, So these often get put on the bonfire too, though we could pay for the council to collect them as garden waste.

All this carbon release is of short-term carbon, mostly this year’s carbon, and there is no net increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by our gardening.

And of course the bonfire produces carbon dioxide, but firstly it is only a fraction of the carbon dioxide which has been turned into wood and leaf in our garden, with the rest remaining locked in as our bushes and trees grow bushier and taller, or being eaten (and thus released) as fruit and vegetables. More too gets back in to the atmosphere from the green waste that does go into our compost bins.

Of course there are other pollutants from our very occasional garden bonfires, including particulates and doubtless toxic chemicals. But I am fairly sure that the amounts of these are relatively small and will add little to those already in our air here from the nearby roads, motorways and Heathrow.

But burning wood to produce electricity at Drax is a quite different matter. One obvious difference is that of scale: Last year Drax burnt 7.2 million tonnes of wood pellets, equivalent to at least twice that amount of green wood, and more than the UK’s total annual wood production, and released 13.02 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere (in addition to another  4.36 million tonnes from coal and other fossil fuels.)

The wood burnt at Drax is ‘old’, having grown over many years, and even with the most sustainable forest planting to replace it will take more than 50 years. The majority of it comes as pellets from the USA, mostly produced from hardwood from the clear-cutting of biodiverse forest ecosystems, and the major producer, Enviva has been subject to heavy criticism both for its destruction of these swamp and wetland forests, and for locating its highly polluting pellet plants in areas of social deprivation already exposed to high levels of industrial pollution.

Drax’s carbon-producing wood burning is only financially viable because it gets huge subsidies. In 2018 these amounted to £789.2 million, This money comes from our energy bills which carry a surcharge, intended for promoting renewable electricity. It should not be used to promote highly polluting and essentially non-renewable wood burning. The subsidies are greater than the company’s annual profits and without them wood-burning would not be viable.

Drax also gets subsidies from the government for burning coal, though on a rather smaller scale, but also impossible to justify. For 2019/20 this is  £22 million, and similar subsidies are expected until 2025. It is also expected to be subsidised for burning gas, and wants to greatly expand its generation from gas.

These huge subsidies to Drax for its contribution to global warming come at at time when our government has slashed subsidies for truly renewable energy production from onshore wind and solar power as well as those for energy efficiency and conservation.

More about the protest outside Drax’s AGM in the City of London, and later outside the Dept for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) demanding an end to environmental subsidies for massive pollution in two posts on My London Diary:
Drax wood burning must end
Drax Protest at BEIS


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage : Flickr

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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