Shaun Smyth, painter and Lee Harrison, photographer, have been documenting the Fiddlers Ferry Power Station. The concept is to show the complex machinery, building and the people of the power plant, provided the power that drove a 20th century industrial Britain.
The coal powered plant now in its last days of existence is on a scheduled close down by the end of March as the demolishers move in on the 31st. Fiddlers Ferry is one of the last five remaining coal fired power generation stations in the UK. It covers a huge amount of ground, and over the years it has seen an ironic nature spin off for the wildlife and water fowl, which have taken advantage of the ‘use’ of water the plant used for as a cooling agent and steam generator. Fiddlers famous Cooling towers can be seen across the North West of England with spectacular shows of steam rising to the heavens. One of the many images caught on camera, on video and in painted images by Smyth and Harrison.
The End Game is the demolition – which will be a visual spectacular, especially when the enormous towers come down. Yet there will be a touch of sadness about the whole closure. Despite the 21st century awareness that coal fired power generation needs to be stopped, for the good of the delicate balance of the environment as it is today, this power plant has been an iconic emblem of the North’s contribution to the wealth of the British Nation. It stand for a progressive, can do will do attitude, when it comes to independence and non-reliance on outside providers of essential energy requirements for a nation.
Smyth and Harrison and to a great extent with the inspiration, ideas and support of the [silent] third member of the project (Denis Taylor artist and editor of Tubes) will present a two part set of exhibitions. One of the first will be at the fabulous Pilkington Glass Museum in St Helens (November 2020), with further venues that will be offered the current completed works (paintings, photographs and video) for the show: “Fiddlers Ferry as it Stands” and a follow up show: “Fiddlers-Ferry as it Falls.” both shows acting as historic records – a complete record which one imagines will be permanently housed in an industrial dedicated Museum for future generations to view as an historic visual education.