Battersea Power Station

Iconic Battersea Power Station has for many, many years concealed it’s internal secrets, whilst cheekily occupying the south-western London Horizon and imaginations of many bored commuters (not to mention Pink Floyd fans).



The star of Open House this year, was Battersea Power Station, with the coup that for the first time in 20 years it was possible for the public to view the interior of the iconic structure.


Much like New Years Eve with warnings of big queues and waiting times, we decided to get there on Saturday morning pretty early, armed with something to read, many things to discuss, a bite to eat (in this case brekkie) and a few cups of tea.


Not such a bad breakfast view , eh?



It was pretty busy to say the least, but everyone was in quietly good spirits. Because we set out so early we were very lucky to be in the first 100 or so people to get inside. The first public in 20 or so years to step foot inside this monolith structure.



You walked through a pretty flower bed/pop-up park, in through between the south end towers, past colour boards with Battersea Station PR departments vision (past and present) on the walls and along a huge corporate tent to the viewing deck.



Great, no? 



Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station located on the south bank of the River Thames. It comprises two individual power stations, built in two stages in the form of a single building. Battersea A Power Station was built in the 1930s, with Battersea B Power Station to its east in the 1950s. The two stations were built to an identical design, providing the well known four-chimney layout.



There is something so ethereal about abandoned buildings, a spirit of how great this edifice used to be before it was disused and began to crumble.




Power Station A was closed in 1975 due to output falling and increased costs, but with rumours rife about the structure being demolished and housing build on the site, a campaign was launched in 1980 to get the structure listed (Grade II, then upgraded to Grade II*) before Power Station B finally was closed in 1983.


The closure of the two stations which had operated for 40 and 30 years respectively was put down largely to the generating equipment becoming outdated, and the preferred choice of fuel for electricity generation shifting from coal toward oil, gas and nuclear power. 



The power station since it ceased generating power has been through several proposed iterations; demolition, a replacement football Stadium for Chelsea FC, and one where the station’s roof was removed in the late 1980s, as there were plans to convert the structure into a theme park.


The turbine hall of Power Station A. See just how large it was.


Multi-billion pound works commence later this year to build luxury apartments. 



It is the UK’s largest brick building. The A Station’s control room was given many Art Deco fittings by architect Halliday. Italian marble was used in the turbine hall, and polished parquet floors and wrought-iron staircases were used throughout



The Battersea Power Station Community Group think one of the main reasons for the power station’s worldwide recognition is that it has appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, Animals, on which it was photographed with the group’s inflatable pink pig floating above it.


The inflatable pig was tethered to one of the power station’s southern chimneys, but broke loose from its moorings and, to the astonishment of pilots in approaching planes, rose into the flight path of  Heathrow airpot. Police helicopters tracked its course, until it landed in Kent.



The pig that was originally floated above Battersea Power Station was called “Algie”.



Apparently the queues stretched for over a mile, from the park to Albert Bridge and Vauxhall Station. Over 18,000 people viewed the station on the Saturday alone and took advantage oppurtunity, which isn’t to be repeated because of the development works.



You have to love Open House!




What do you think about the future of Battersea power station? Should it be pulled down? Do you think luxury apartments are a good use?


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