The construction of the Pinkston power station (1900)


Commissioned in 1899, Pinkston Power Station was built to generate electricity when Glasgow’s tram fleet changed from horse-drawn to electric trams. When the station opened in 1901, it is thought to have been the biggest power station in Europe. Powered by coal, Pinkston had its own railway sidings for fuel deliveries. Not only did Pinkston power Glasgow’s trams and trolleybuses, it also generated electricity for the Subway, and some electric street lights. When it was handed over to the South of Scotland Electricity Board in 1958, the power station was supplying 17 million units of electricity to the national grid. This place then ran the city of Glasgow for decades using a form of power that we now see as unsustainable and dirty.  Yet for people living in Glasgow during these years pollution was a daily and unremarkable hazard.