Palmerston North Electric Power Station Inc.
Floor Plans - Ground Floor:
1924 & 1936
These two plans have provided us with comparative information on a range of places within the power station as they once were and as they now are. The upper plan dates from the building's construction in 1923-4 and shows the three original National engines. However, a fourth (which has not scanned properly in the image) proved also to have been planned for installation some time in the future. This would have sat where British Polar engine No. 216 now is.
The site of BP engine No. 215 was at that time occupied by a mezzanine floor / balcony extension, beneath which were the four compressed air cylinders and the air compressor. The oil coolers were on the upper floor above them. We still have one of the oil tanks and also the compressed air cylinders, the latter being repositioned across the former entrance to the store (as shown in the upper floor plan). The main door at that time was the one at the left end of the building (behind Engine 216). The side door under the mezzanine door now opens into a 'new' (as at 1936) little room that protrudes from the building toward present-day Keith Street. The present main door was installed in 1936, as those previous side doors were too small to admit the British Polars.
Especially interesting to us, has been the information on the former uses of the various rooms. We have known them by more recent uses and layouts. The major change occurred in 1936 when the British Polar engines were installed. At that time, sections of the inner walls had to be removed to allow for the greater length of these engines and - especially - their alternators. This is clearly shown in the lower 1936 floor plan.
The staff toilets are of note too. The present (since 1936) toilet was - it transpires - originally the 'Office Lav(atory)'. It served the occupants of the two offices - one of which is now the staffroom/kitchen. Our hand basin also served the office staff. Meanwhile the 'Station Lav' (for the workers) is now a cupboard, and our shower proves to have been the 1923 urinal. Plonking the alternator of Engine 215 into the workers' toilet door upset things a little and the resulting social change within the power station was that thereafter one toilet had to suit all. It is noteworthy that at the time there appears to have been no staff room (including upstairs), though it may have been elsewhere in the complex.
Other rooms are the log room (for keeping the station log book), which is equipped nowadays with a workbench and cupboards - and what we call the 'Old Control Room', received the power supply from Mangahao Hydro Power Station near Shannon.
1923-4 Floor plan
1936 Floor plan
Last Updated: 3 May 2001