Inside Battersea Power Station

By london_will Last edited 160 months ago
Inside Battersea Power Station

The BBC has some wonderful pictures from inside Battersea Power Station, showing once and for all what a remarkable time capsule it is.

The pictures include the station's Art Deco entrance hall, its futuristic (for the 1950s) control rooms, its towering spaces, and the eerie Marie Celeste feel of some of its undisturbed rooms.

Battersea has been pictured before, of course - it's long been a favourite film and TV set. (Here are some fascinating facts about the station.)

This pictures, however, are possibly the last time we'll see the station in this untouched, pristine state. It is, after years of argument, to be developed into a "landmark site creating more than 9000 jobs". Details here.

While it's pleasing that a big chunk of prominent London land and one of the capital's most significant landmarks are no longer going to sit undisturbed, this is not a moment for unalloyed joy.

Certainly, Battersea Power station was just rotting away as it was, and terrible damage was being done to its structure. But is it really any better to mutate it into some ghastly, bland, shiny, Blairite "Retail Experience" - a "24-hour destination" (not for cabbies, though) of throbbing music, luxury flats, and branches of Claire's Accessories and Nando's.

Thealbeit well-meaning urge to regenerate everything at all costs is depriving this and future generations of the value of ruins. Ruins are wonderful, restful places of contemplation. Battersea should not be treated like Bluewater Shopping Centre; it should be treated like Fountains and Rievaulx, and glorious relic of a bygone age.

Stabilise the site, surround it with simple parkland, and build a visitor centre. Let it be a happy ruin, not some ghastly howling megamall.

Last Updated 05 July 2005