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One last look at the cooling towers

By Philip Halling

I was in Ironbridge back in the summer and whilst visiting some of the museums I took a couple of photographs of the cooling towers of the Ironbridge Power Station which ceased generating electricity in 2015. Knowing the towers were to be demolished during the coming winter I thought it would be good to return when the leaves have fallen thus hopefully getting a better view of them.

Iíve been thinking over visiting in recent weeks but the dull and very wet weather of November had put me off. It was by chance that on BBC regional news, ĎMidlands Todayí I saw a news item regarding the cooling towers and that they were to be demolished on Friday. This prompted me to visit the next day.

I parked in the car park near the Coop supermarket and walked along the bank of the River Severn to Abraham Darby IIIís 1779 iron bridge, stopping on the way to take an atmospheric picture of the towers with mist above the Severn. Driving from Worcestershire it had been foggy but fortunately much of it cleared near Much Wenlock and at Ironbridge some was still lying in the river valley. After crossing the bridge over the river I followed the Shropshire Way along on old railway trackbed and then up through the wooded hillside below Benthall Edge. It was twenty years since I last walked here, I remember being impressed by the view of the cooling towers from here. Itís funny how memory plays tricks, the views from here werenít as good as I remembered. Even with the trees bare, the last leaves being blow away by autumn winds, it was difficult to find a clear view through the trees of the cooling towers. I reached the top of Benthall Edge I then followed a bridleway which descended to a residential mobile home park called Pool View Park Homes. The site was dominated by the chimney, and to a lesser extent the cooling towers of the power station. Following the access road, I emerged on the A4169 near where the road crosses the River Severn near Buildwas Abbey. Three of the cooling towers can be seen from the bridge. Returning to Ironbridge I followed the Severn Way along the riverbank, briefly stopping to photograph the four towers from the access bridge to the power station.

Before getting in the car and returning home I returned to the same spot where I had first taken pictures of the towers this morning. Obviously the sun was lighting them from a different direction and it was less misty so the towers could be seen reflected in the waters of the river.

I had been very lucky with the weather, the following day was cloudier and the light not so good. Two days later at 11am on Friday 6 December I watched online as the towers were razed to the ground. Explosions took away the stilts the towers stand on, the collapsed in the blink of an eye like paper.

I shall miss seeing them on the skyline.
You can see this trip plotted on a map on the Geo-trips page Link .

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Mon, 9 Dec 2019 at 21:55
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