The Turbine House in the beautiful Margam Country Park is currently being restored. The historically important building houses a large turbine which is also being reinstated, once operating again it will introduce electricity for the magnificent estate.
The impressive building was built in 1891 for Emily Charlotte Talbot, who lived in Margam Castle. Emily Charlotte commissioned the development of a hydro-electric scheme, using the nearby stream, to power her Castle. The scheme was devised by Drake and Goreham of Westminster.
The original turbine was capable of producing enough electricity to power 400 lamps. The turbine was removed and taken to South Africa in the 1950s and replaced by a new turbine, which has not been used for many years.
The restoration project is being overseen by Neath Port Talbot Council, with support from Cadw and Friends of Margam Country Park.
Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, Councillor Rob Jones said:
“This is an extremely interesting project of historic importance and an excellent example of renewable energy generation.
“This project will bring savings to the operation of the Country Park, reduce the carbon footprint and at the same time provide an educational resource for local residents, visitors and schools”.
The Grade 2 listed Turbine House is of major historical importance, not just for Port Talbot, but for the UK. Margam Castle is thought to be the second domestic house in Britain to be supplied with electricity. The first was at Cragside in Northumberland in 1880.
The refurbishment of the building itself is expected to be completed in the New Year. The turbine, which has been removed for work to be carried out, is expected to be back in place by the spring of 2018.
The refurbished turbine will then produce power for buildings on the estate including the Orangery and any excess will be fed back into the National Grid.
In addition to housing the turbine, the building will also provide a workshop and exhibition area for the Friends of Margam and for visitors to the Country Park. An integral part of this work will also include the inclusion of a bat roosting area, the Park has recently been recognised as one of the best sites in Wales for the diversity of Bat species it has.