Remember When: Portobello Power Station’s power and glory

Manning the controls in the power station in 1950. Picture: comp
Manning the controls in the power station in 1950. Picture: comp
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PORTOBELLO Power Station was a landmark building.

It stood just a stone’s throw from the seafront, at the junction of King’s Road and Portobello High Street. Its tall distinctive chimney was visible for miles around for more than 50 years.

Visitors take a look behind the scenes during an open day in 1961. Picture: comp

Visitors take a look behind the scenes during an open day in 1961. Picture: comp

The power station was meant to have been built around 1913, but was delayed because of the First World War. The opening of its initial phase in 1923 was such an important occasion that King George V performed the ceremony.

One of Britain’s most efficient power stations, it provided electricity to light streets, homes and run the city’s extensive tram network.

It was later extended by Edinburgh’s civic architect, Ebenezer MacRae, who replaced the original six chimney stacks with one towering chimney 365ft tall and linked its pipes to his other structure, the nearby Portobello Lido.

Thousands of Portobello residents and visitors were treated to warm water in the pool and waves powered thanks to the nearby station.

The main turbine hall being demolished in 1978. Picture: comp

The main turbine hall being demolished in 1978. Picture: comp

However, the larger, new power stations at Cockenzie – now also demolished – and Longannet, which closed earlier this year, spelled the end of Portobello Power Station and it closed in 1977, with demolition following soon after.

An explosion brings down the walls during the demolition of Portobello power station in Edinburgh in December 1978. Picture: comp

An explosion brings down the walls during the demolition of Portobello power station in Edinburgh in December 1978. Picture: comp