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Battersea Power Station - Iconic Building

Updated on June 20, 2011

Battersea Power Station History

I have always been fascinated by Battersea Power Station ever since I lived just down the road in Queenstown Road, Battersea in the 1990s. I guess I have a love of old buildings, particularly ones that have been abandoned and left derelict for periods of time.

Battersea Power Station was built in the 1930s after much debate about the possible amount of pollution it could cause to central London. There were two phases of the building of the power station with the second phase being completed in the 1950s. At it's height Battersea Power Station used hundreds of tons of coal a day to produce power for London.

Unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) it was decommissioned in 1983 as the amount of pollution was very high and it was no longer considered viable.

Battersea Power Station (c) Azure11, 2011
Battersea Power Station (c) Azure11, 2011

Battersea Power Station - Historic Building

Battersea Power Station is listed as a historic building in the UK - It has Grade II* listing status which means that it is a building of historical interest and as such certain aspects of the building need to be preserved. Any development of the building would be subject to the approval of English Heritage. As the building has been empty for over 25 years the state of the building is categorised as 'bad' by English Heritage. In fact you can see from the outside that scaffolding is required to keep the building from deteriorating any further.

Battersea Power Station - Developments

A number of plans have been put in to develop Battersea Power Station since the building became derelict. The earliest plan was to turn the building into a theme park and this got approval to go ahead in the mid to late 80s. Building work actually commenced on this and large parts of the roof were removed so that machinery could be taken out. Unfortunately the costs escalated so much that the plan was abandoned and the building was left without large sections of roof.

In the 90s a plan was given the go ahead for turning the site into a mixture of shops and offices. Again this plan stalled because of funding problems and nothing else happened on the site.

In 1993 a company called Parkview International bought the site and came up with a massive development plan for a shopping mall, cinemas, nightclubs etc. There were quite a few people who objected to this proposal and eventually after 13 years the site was sold again to a company called Real Estate Opportunities.

Battersea Power Station - Current Development Plans

The new proposals from REO offer a much more modern solution when compared to previous developments and have been given the go ahead. Hopefully this time they will be carried through and the building will be given a new lease of life.

There are plans for the following:

  • A new riverwalk
  • A new green energy plant that will once again make it a power station
  • 2 new underground tube stations
  • A zero carbon office space
  • A modern conference centre
  • An urban event space

Development of Battersea Power Station was mean to start in 2011 but has since been delayed until 2012. The new underground stations are due to be complete by 2016 and the whole project should be complete by 2020. However, given the history of the site, only time will tell if this actually happens.


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