Remember When Darlington Had a Town Centre Power Station?

by Matt Falcus

Look at image of Darlington’s town centre from the early and mid-20th century and you’ll notice two huge features of the skyline which are no longer there today.

The cooling towers of Darlington Power Station were the tallest structures in the town centre, and dominated for many years until they disappeared at the start of 1979.


Darlington Power Station

Ben Brooksbank / Up express entering Darlington Bank Top station with power station in background.

C015 Power Station.

The first power station was built in central Darlington in 1900 on Haughton Road.

Its site was important, as the East Coast Main Line ran right by, which could deliver the necessary coal to the site to keep it in action.

In 1940 the whole power station was rebuilt at great cost, with the addition of the three cooling towers and other structures.

Over the next thirty years the power station was continually upgraded and, despite the obvious health issues of having a coal-burning site in the centre of the town, it was actually awarded the Christopher Hinton Cup in 1963.

However, with the nationalization of the energy industry, Darlington was relegated to a standby position and not actively generating.

Time was limited for this small station. It was closed on 25 October 1976, with demolition taking place between 1978-79.

The skyline of Darlington was changed forever.


What Remains of Darlington Power Station?

Entrance to the former Darlington Power Station site off Haughton Road.

Bannatyne Group’s headquarters occupies the site today.

Today the site of Darlington Power Station is occupied by the Bannatyne Health Club and the company headquarters just off Haughton Road as it passed the railway line into the town centre.

This was sadly the victim of an arson attack in 2022, which has left it in a perilous state with its future uncertain.

Nothing of the power station itself remains beyond the basic layout of the site.


Do you have memories of Darlington power station? Leave a comment below!



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