The generator - Newbury Diesel Company

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The generator

NDC in Newbury

Newbury had its own generating station, close to the River Kennet at Greenham Mill. The proximity to the river was to provide a source of cooling water for  the engines in the plant, including a Plenty-Still, H Kent-Norris designed 200 bhp engine.of the P50 type installed in 1923 which drove one of the generators providing an output to the town. The engine was still in service in the 1950's but by then the power house was only being used  as back up in the event of local power distribution failure. The local area was supplied with Electricity from "Wessex Electricity" from some time in the 1930's but with the introduction of the national grid post war, local generating became redundant. Like all engineering spaces in their day, the engine and the surrounding building was kept spotlessly clean as a mark of pride for the gentlemen who ran the mini power station. The proof that these operators were  proud of their small generating plant was that the doorway, whenever the weather permitted, was left open so that the passing public could look in and wonder at the large machines, sitting quiely waiting for a demand on their services. A slightly different  matter when they were running as the noise was excessive without doubt but, as there were no close neighbours, that wasn't in those days a problem.

The generating house did have a further Newbury Diesel connection in that when the new four stroke experimental engine was being developed and tested in 1970, the soundproof room from there was removed to the Kings Road factory. Probably the last legacy of the generating station which by now was almost certainly devoid of the generating plant.  The four cylinder version of the T type was still a fairly large and noisy engine so prolonged engine testing was deemed to be preferable in a soundproof room for the sake of the close neighbours in Kings Road.

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