Demolition Threat: Cockenzie power station
by Sir Robert Matthew, East Lothian, Scotland, 1967
DATE: 26/9/2015
"Cockenzie´s chimneys and engine hall to fall
Demolition of Cockenzie power station reaches its culmination this Saturday, 26 Sep.

Coming home to Edinburgh will never be the same again! Flying in by plane, arriving by car on the A1 or coming into Edinburgh by ship, a major landmark was greeting you, signally that Edinburgh is close: Cockenzie power station. A glassy box, on a steel skeleton, with two chimneys soaring high, it is, at daytime, "One of the most emblematic features of East Lothian’s landscape", as Fraser MacDonald puts it in the newspaper The Guardian, and, at night, literally, a beacon of shining light welcoming travellers. But the end is nigh!

The on-going demolition (we have previously reported) culminates this weekend –strangely coinciding with the Doors Open Day in Edinburgh, supposedly a celebration of the Scotland´s built heritage– with the blowing up of the twin chimneys and the engine hall. The explosion bringing down the chimneys of the coal-fired power plant, built between 1964 and 1968 to designs by the renowned architectural firm Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners, is slated for noon on Saturday, the hall will follow only shortly afterwards in a second explosion.

Whereas, in London, Bankside power station has been turned into Tate Modern and Battersea power station is being converted for new uses and, in Dublin, Poolbeg power station has recently been heritage-designated, the destruction of Scotland´s 20th century energy-related heritage continues. Most of Scotland´s coal mining legacy has vanished, including the Monktonhall colliery towers near Edinburgh, the chimney of Inverkip´s coal power station, in Renfrewshire, the tallest in Scotland, was demolished in 2013, and the ´decommissioning´ of the Dounreay nuclear power plants, near Thurso, continues. We are still far too one-sidedly selective in what heritage we consider worth preserving. Or in Mr MacDonald´s words: "it’s disheartening if the only high structures that endure are those built for aristocrats."

We will hopefully show a video of the sad Cockenzie demolition at our photo exhibition at the Edinburgh Doors Open Day."

Image: Fintan264, via WikiMedia, CC BY 2.0

[by Docomomo Scotland]