Hydro-electric power house and associated weir 250m north west of Tin Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020895

Date first listed: 28-Jan-2003


Ordnance survey map of Hydro-electric power house and associated weir 250m north west of Tin Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Grassington

County: North Yorkshire

District: Craven (District Authority)

Parish: Threshfield


National Grid Reference: SD 99920 63481


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Electricity is generated by the motion of a wire coil within a magnetic field, the motion being provided by a turbine driven by steam, water or combustion. Early uses of electricity, for telegraph systems, lighthouses and electrical devices in mines, followed soon after Michael Faraday's discovery of magneto-electric induction in 1831. It was not until the 1870s, however, after technological developments in Britain, USA, Germany and France, that electricity started to be used on a large scale, for public lighting, industrial machinery and (by the 1890s) trams and railways. Early electricity generation took place in small isolated power houses, often dedicated to individual country estates, wealthy urban housing estates, industrial sites, hospitals or lighthouses. Most were coal fired, but in rural areas there was also significant use of hydro-electrics. From the 1890s, large central power stations were built to generate power for transmission over wide areas to multiple users, although (as industry adopted electricity more widely) some collieries, textile mills and steel works built their own power houses. Fuel sources became more diverse, including gas, hydro-electric and refuse destructor heat, but coal remained the dominant fuel. Electricity generating and distribution buildings of the 19th and early 20th century display a great variety of architecture and design. In the countryside, existing buildings tended to be used, often water mills adapted for hydro-electric use. In urban areas power houses were usually purpose-built, and frequently in flamboyant and distinctive architectural styles that reflected municipal or company pride, and made statements about investment and technology as well as civic and commercial rivalry. A period of rationalisation after 1919 led to the creation of the national grid. Many of the smaller, isolated power stations were closed down in favour of fewer, larger stations. The newly-formed Central Electricity Board purchased electricity from both private and public generating companies and distributed it through a single, centrally-controlled national network. The pylons that supported the new grid's overhead cables rapidly became a national icon of modernity and change. In 1948 the electricity industry was nationalised, and the national grid was extended to cover almost the whole country. Larger generating stations were built, first fuelled mainly by coal, later by nuclear fission, and most recently (especially after de-nationalisation in 1991) by gas. The modern industry is also developing the use of `new' fuels, such as refuse, wind, sun and sea-waves. Following a national survey of the industry's buildings and sites, around 120 examples illustrating the history and diversity of the industry have been identified as being of national importance. Together these represent the industry's chronological depth, technological range and regional diversity. All will be considered for protection.

The hydro-electric power house and associated weir 250m north west of Tin Bridge at Linton survives well and evidence of the technological processes involved can be clearly seen and understood. In addition the site benefits from comprehensive details of the operating company's history which demonstrates the manner in which small rural companies were administered, financed and operated.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes standing remains of a hydro-electric power house. It is located on the west bank of the River Wharfe, 600m south west of Grassington. The monument includes both the ruins of the structure and an associated weir crossing the river. The first power house was built over the washout sluice on the upper weir of Linton water mill. Linton Mill and a second weir were located some 250m downstream. The power house was built by the Grassington Electric Supply Company Ltd.(GESCL) which was formed in June 1909 to provide an electricity supply to the area. The company leased the upper weir from the owners of Linton Mill, which had been built to control water supply for the mill and was in existence before 1852. Contemporary photographs show that the first power house included a wooden building with a corrugated iron roof standing on a stone built sub-structure containing a single turbine pit. It was fitted with a Gordon water turbine with a 20KW generator. Cables crossed the river to a distribution board and power was thence distributed to consumers by cables attached to chimney brackets. Demand for electricity rose and in 1910 Grassington Parish Council replaced its 24 street oil lamps with electric light and by 1912 the Wesleyan chapel had also installed electricity. Power was also extended to the neighbouring township of Threshfield. To meet growing demand GESCL started to buy electricity from Linton Mill where a new large turbine and generator had been installed for use at the mill following a fire in 1912. In the same year the central portion of the upper weir was swept away by a flood and GESCL relied entirely on the mill turbine until the weir was repaired the following year. As a result an oil engine was purchased as a back up power source. Company records show that despite rising numbers of customers profits were not good, the supply was unreliable and the distribution system was deteriorating. The company purchased a suction gas engine and a replacement 40KW dynamo to try to improve capacity but continued running into problems. Reluctant to rely too much on power purchased from the mill turbine and in increasing financial difficulties GESCL went into liquidation in 1921. The assets were purchased by the Linton Mill company and a new company was formed; The Craven Hydro-electric Supply Company Ltd. The new company invested in new generating plant, at both the upper weir power house and at Linton Mill. At the upper weir a new power house was constructed, comprising a concrete turbine block supporting a brick built generator house. It contained three turbine pits, which housed two new vertical turbines of 75hp and 50hp, as well as a new generator. The new company continued to provide power to the area until nationalisation of the electricity industry in 1948. The surviving remains of the upper weir power house are of the 1920s rebuilding. The concrete turbine block is rectangular in shape and is 8m wide and extends over the southern part of the river for 12m. The southern part of the turbine block overlies the site of the earlier power house and the remainder overlies the southern part of the weir. Siting the power house on the weir meant that the higher water level upstream created a powerful head of water as it dropped through the turbines. The turbines were located in chambers set within the body of the turbine block and water was fed into them through a set of three channels. On the upstream part of the turbine block the sluice mechanisms which controlled water flow to the turbine pits still survive. A metal grill across the face of the sluices to prevent debris entering the turbines also survives. On the downstream side there are four concrete built arms projecting outwards to channel the water from the turbine pits. On top of the turbine block there are the remains of the generator house where electricity was produced from the power provided by the turbines. This was a rectangular single storey brick building measuring 12m by 6.5m. The roof no longer survives although the north wall and gables survive to full height. This building held the generators as well as providing some space for storage of tools and maintenance equipment. With the exception of some metal plates on the generator house floor and a metal cog wheeled mechanism whose function is unclear all internal fittings and structures such as turbines, generators, cables and switches have been removed. Upstream on the west river bank there is a concrete retaining wall 7m long which controlled the water supply to the inlet sluices. On the downstream side there is a stone built wall extending from the turbine block to the river bank which supported the land to the side of the power house. This downstream wall is the only visible remains of the earlier power house. It is not known whether any further remains of the earlier power house are incorporated into or survive below the later structure. The weir extends right across the river from the edge of the power house. It measures 40m in length and is approximately 10m wide with a drop of approximately 2.5m. Close to the northern end there is a metal mechanism standing proud of the water the purpose of which is currently unclear. Where the weir meets the east bank of the river there is a stone and concrete wall supporting the river bank to ensure it is secure from being washed away.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 35477

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Masterson, H, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in An Electrical Undertaking in Upper Wharfedale in the early 1900s, (1999), 237-249
Masterson, H, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in An Electrical Undertaking in Upper Wharfedale in the early 1900s, (1999), 237-249

End of official listing