Power station control desk
Instrument panel for condensate system, 500MW power generation unit no.3, designed and commissioned by the Central Electricity Generating Board, Cottam power station, Nottinghamshire, 1968.
This desk represents the giant national-level technology projects undertaken in Britain in the postwar period, and the ultimate development of the coal-fired thermal power station in the UK. Cottam was one of fifteen generating stations using standardised 500MW and then 660MW power units, which met the lion’s share of Britain’s energy needs for almost half a century. The desk comprises a central control unit with an alarm fascia above, and a horse-shoe shaped instrumentation panel around. Its design harnessed ergonomics, engineering, scientific precision and a novel operating system, employing automation to support the operator’s human ability and allowing the safe, efficient control of power generation on an unprecedented scale.