Battersea Power Station Lights Up

November 2017

Battersea Power Station under reconstruction on the 6th November 2017 with the new chimneys lit up for the first time and the new operational pier in place. This site is now served by MBNA Thames Clippers as part of their RB1 service.

Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned coal-fired power station. 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.

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 Grade II listed. The station's celebrity owes much to numerous cultural appearances, which include a shot in The Beatles' 1965 movie Help!, appearing in the video for the 1982 hit single "Another Thing Comin´" by heavy metal band Judas Priest and being used in the cover art of Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals, as well as a cameo appearance in Take That's music video "The Flood." In addition, a photograph of the plant's control room was used as cover art on Hawkwind's 1977 album Quark, Strangeness and Charm.

Since the station's closure the site has remained largely unused, with numerous failed redevelopment plans from successive site owners. The site was owned by the administrators of Irish company Real Estate Opportunities (REO), who bought it for £400 million in November 2006. In November 2010, REO was granted permission to refurbish the station for public use and build 3,400 homes across the site. However, this plan fell through due to REO's debt being called in by its creditors, the state-owned banks in the UK and Ireland. In July 2012, the power station was sold to a consortium led by Malaysia’s SP Setia for £400 million.

The station is the largest brick building in Europe and is notable for its original, lavish Art Deco interior fittings and decor. However, the building's condition has been described as "very bad" by English Heritage and is included in its Buildings at Risk Register. In 2004, while the redevelopment project was stalled, and the building remained derelict, the site was listed on the 2004 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund.

The combination of an existing debt burden of some £750 million, the need to make a £200 million contribution to a proposed extension to the London Underground, requirements to fund conservation of the derelict power station shell and the presence of a waste transfer station and cement plant on the river frontage make a commercial development of the site a significant challenge. In December 2011, the latest plans to develop the site collapsed with the debt called in by the creditors. In February 2012, the site was placed on sale on the open property market and received interest from a variety of overseas consortia, most seeking to demolish or part-demolish the structure.

Completion of the sale took place in September 2012, and the redevelopment intends to implement the Rafael Vinoly design which had gained planning consent from Wandsworth Council in 2011. In January 2013 the first residential apartments went on sale.

10 / 20