In the early ’70s global oil prices were really low, until the OPEC diplomatic tiffs of 1974, that is. In the run-up to this the British Isles saw the advent of a fresh generation of exclusively oil-fired power stations, and by this time the design stylings and choices of control room architects were of a new wave as well. Out with the turquoise circular dial-bonanza, in with the sea-green cubic horse-shoe desks. There’s hundreds of miles of piping, wiring and axels, and thousands of valves, switches, batteries, bulbs, cogs and blades at any power station. Before computer science was a thing, to change the function of each of these components at the myriad of pinch points for stuff to fire around the boiler house and turbine hall, one had to preside over a serious array of knobs, dials and gauges. These particular desks were designed by Bailey Controls, now part of monopoly market strangleholder ABB Systems.


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