Some think it’s beautiful, some think it’s hideously ugly, but no matter what, Battersea Power Station has become an iconic London structure. In the 1920’s, the station was designed in the brick-cathedral style which was popular at the time and is one of the last still in existance in the UK today. Once described as a ‘temple of power’, the station is still the largest brick building in Europe and is famous for its original Art Deco interior fittings which include Italian marble, polished parquet floors and wrought iron staircases – not bad considering it was a power station after all.
The station ceased generating electricity in 1983, but over the past 50 years it has become one of the best known landmarks in London and is now Grade II listed. However, the building’s condition is described as ‘very bad’ and is included in the ‘Building at Risk Register’ by the English Heritage. Since the station’s closure in the 80s, the site has remained largely unused with numerous failed redevelopment plans. Some of the more interesting ideas that were approved an halted were to build an indoor theme park based around Britain’s industrial history, an Eco-dome, hotels, offices and my favourite…the Chelsea Football Club stadium.
The site is currently owned by an Irish Real Estate company who bought it for £400 million. In 2010, they were granted permission to refurbish the station and build 3,400 homes across the site, however the plan fell through due to the companies debt. As of February 2012, Battersea Power Station was put up for sale at an estimated price of £500 million.
Battersea Power Station has become such an iconic building along the Thames that it has been featured in many films and TV shows. One of the station’s earliest appearances was in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film Sabotage. It also appears in Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life, the Beatle’s film ‘Help’ and as the cover art for Pink Floyd’s album ‘Animal’. More recently in 2007, the power station was used for Doctor Who, as well as for Batman, The Dark Night.