I took a tour of Battersea Power Station this week.
Actually they aren’t offering tours to the general public yet but only to people who have some connection with the place. I was alerted by another blogger alifesgayventure who gave me the link (it’s free) and then I entered some kind of lottery to get a place on the tour.
We were asked not to put photos on social media because they don’t want too many people applying: ‘last time we opened to the general public 40,000 people applied for tickets’, she said, shuddering in horror that so many people might want to do this. Does my blog count as social media? I’m saying no.
After putting out a long list of dress code rules (including the ban of Ugg boots; there must have been some kind of Ugg boot related accident in the past because they were quite insistent on that one) we were supplied with hard hats and hi-vis jackets and let out onto the site.
The power station itself was decommissioned in 1983, leaving behind this beautiful art Deco building,
It then fell into a state of disrepair. At one point there were plans to open a theme park there, however the cost of maintaining the Grade 2 listed building proved too much and the idea was abandoned.
In the end, after more than thirty years, it was bought by a Malaysian consortium and work began to make it into luxury flats. Just what London needs eh? More luxury apartments that the locals can’t afford, bought up by investors from China who never even visit.
It really is an iconic building. It has featured in numerous films and TV shows, from the film version of 1984, the Beatles film Help, Dr Who and Sherlock.
Back in the 60s before Battersea became ‘south Chelsea’ it was a drab, working class neighbourhood. For any fans of 1960s cinema you can see it portrayed in Up the Junction, where a posh Suzy Kendal crosses the river from Chelsea to work in a factory to see how working class people live. A frightenly young Denis Waterman gets sent down for stealing a car to try and impress her. It’s a film of its time.
They are planning to open this tour out to the general public later this year, so worth keeping an eye on their social media if you’re interested. Free.