Fire teams in competition at Keadby coal fired power station

The image below shows fire-fighting teams at Keadby coal fired power station and features Derek Grimbleby who is in the centre of the picture, behind the standpipe with his arms folded.

Fire teams in competition at Keadby power station

Fire teams in competition at Keadby power station

The photo was taken in the late 50s or early 60s and shows teams from various power stations during a competitive day event.

Mr. Grimbleby worked at the power station for 30 years before it closed in the mid 1980s. Each power station had teams of men trained to put out fires on site whenever they broke out. It was an additional duty, which brought an additional £30 payment per year with it. They had to run out hose reels and know how to work the extinguishers; there were different types of extinguisher for different types of fire.

Mr. Grimbleby was born in Scunthorpe but moved to Ealand as a child attending the Crowle Church of England School. He worked at West’s farm in Ealand for 12 years before attaining a job at the power station as an ash plant attendant, a boiler assistant to the stoker, a turbine attendant and then an assistant unit operator before becoming a unit operator himself.

As a unit operator he had three men under him and was in charge of a boiler and one of the six 60-megawatt turbines at the station.

The power station employed around 350 people and had a good social life with various sports teams and Mr. Grimbleby was himself the captain of the bowls team.

When Keadby power station closed down he went to work at Ferrybridge C but later returned to Keadby where he worked on security until the site was fully finished.

Below is an aerial view of Keadby coal fired power station, the site now has a gas fired power station on it.


Keadby coal fired power station

Keadby coal fired power station


Building work had started on Keadby Power Station in April 1952, the main contractors being Sir Robert McAlpine’s along with Babcock and Wilcox and Stirling Bailers.

Rita Newton

Rita Newton

The engineering consultants were Ewbank and Partners of Grosvenor Street, London, who were on site on behalf of the British Electricity Authority (BEA) to oversee that all contractors adhered to building regulations, terms of contract and health and safety. To this end progress reports were made weekly and submitted to the BEA, which was later renamed the CEA (Central Electricity Authority).

Ewbank’s staff consisted of Arthur Gould (mechanical engineer), Bill Lifely (electrical engineer), Mr. Ludford (residential engineer) and secretary Rita Newton (see pic).

In 1956 work on the building of the power station was coming to an end and it was a big day when it was finally commissioned and handed over to the CEA.

A report on 23rd December 1957 shows proposals to reduce the size of the area taken up for tipping ash from the power station was welcomed by the National Farmers Union. The news was reported at a meeting of the Lindsey County Council, the Isle of Axholme Rural District Council and the CEA.

It was reported that under the then current system 240 acres of land was required but under new proposals, which included building up deposits to a 40ft plateau, only 60 acres would be required.

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