Blackburn Meadows power station was officially opened in 1921 by His Royal Highness The Duke of York. At that time the demand for electricity in the city was increasing rapidly and the Sheffield Electricity Corporation required a third generating station in addition to those at Sheaf Street and Neepsend.

The proximity of both a river and canal, as well as access by road and rail, meant that Blackburn Meadows was a perfect location for the new generating station. Coal arrived by barges, lorries and trains and was transported to the boiler house by a long conveyor belt. Here water from the canal and nearby Rover Don, was heated to create steam. When the steam reached a temperature of 320°C, it was then sent through four turbo-alternators, which together could produce 28,000kW of electricity. Cooling water, which was used to remove heat from the steam in order to turn it back into its liquid state, was released back into the atmosphere by eight (or four pairs) of wooden cooling towers. Gordon Sykes explains how waste ash was disposed during the early years at Blackburn Meadows (1).