Battersea power station has stood derelict on the banks of the Thames for over 30 years since it ceased generating in 1983. I used to see this from the train whenever I went to London and often wondered what, if anything, was left inside. It has always been a magnet for Urban Explorers and was one of the first things I ever saw on 28DL which was one of the things which drew me into the hobby. One day I knew I would see it for myself, but that was in 2008 and it took me until 2013 to actually get round to doing so!
Battersea has had many failed developments start in the 30 years it’s been derelict, this means a vast majority of its original features no longer remain. There is no turbine hall to look at, it is just a shell and all that really remains is the A side control room, B side switch room and a few nice features on the stair cases on ‘A’ side. The A side control room is actually listed and will be preserved as part of any new development. This was, as far as I’m concerned, the main attraction and is probably the single best example of a 1930’s power station control room that exists anywhere. I’m so pleased I got to see it.
The B side switch room often gets mistakenly called the control room. The control room was in fact a different place which wasn’t accessible, but this switch room is equally impressive with its stainless steel cabinets and switch gear. The A side room was a combined switch room and control room. Getting to this is not particularly easy without being seen and involed a bit of a climb up some beams to get onto the correct floor of the crumbling building.
And who can forget those iconic chimney stacks, 4 of them in all; 2 for A side and 2 for B side. Despite the fact the two halves of the station were constructed some 20 years apart from each other, architecturally they were almost identical.
Battersea will always be a special place. As of today (2016) when I’m writing this note, development has started properly and the original chimney stacks are being replaced with replicas which look the part but will never quite be the same. I’m a bit gutted I never got to climb to the top of one of them as I wanted to, however there’s still time to attempt one of the replicas, the development isn’t finished yet!