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 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.
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, however the cost of maintaining the Grade 2 listed building proved too much and the idea was abandoned.
Meanwhile its sister power station on the south bank thrived as the Tate Modern art gallery.
In the end, after more than thirty years, Battersea Power Station was bought by a Malaysian consortium and work began to make it into luxury flats. Just what London needs: 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 1960s before Battersea became the heavily gentrified ‘South Chelsea’ it was a drab, working class neighbourhood. For any fans of 1960s British 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 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.