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The Dickinson Street Power Station main entrance, seen from Portland Street. Appearing more than ten years after electrification began in London, it was built by the City Corporation among a series of improvement works that saw the creation of the Manchester Ship Canal, a Hydraulic Power Works and Manchester Technical School.
Coal was delivered by canal barge along the adjacent Rochdale Canal, and the station initially had six steam engines driving the dynamos, which provided electric light to public and private buildings in the centre of the City, initially, though, no public streetlighting was provided.
Waste heat from the station was used to heat some local buildings, including the nearby Palace Theatre.