Image courtesy of Sheffield Local Studies Library

During the Second World War, Sheffield was an important manufacturer of munitions and Blackburn Meadows was used to supply electricity to nearby munitions factories. Such was the concern that Blackburn Meadows would be a target by Enemy Action, special equipment was used to protect its turbo-alternators against air raid damage. Fortunately the power station was not hit, although the Electricity Showrooms on Norfolk Street was bombed on two separate occasions and its Demonstration Rooms entirely destroyed.

In 1948, Sheffield’s Electrical Supply Undertaking was nationalised. Blackburn Meadows power station now lay under the authority of the Yorkshire Electricity Board, which was part of the Central Electricity Generating Board. Although demand for electricity in the home continued to rise, much of the demand was from local industries. Very large steel industries had direct cables straight from the power station, whilst public demand was fed by cables to over 500 electricity substations across the city.

Listen to Gordon Cameron as he explains how electricity was made at Blackburn Meadows (2)