Pigs Might Fly

By Lindsey Last edited 144 months ago
Pigs Might Fly

Battersea Power Station’s future remains in doubt as the fantastic hulk of the art-deco building itself remains in sorry dereliction.

Yesterday, the Guardian reported that the new owners of the £400m prime 36+ acre riverside site, Treasury Holdings, had scrapped development plans approved by Wandsworth Council in November last year and speculated whether London might be about to lose the four iconic chimneys altogether to yet another bland, luxury, residential development if the Power Station is allowed to further deteriorate beyond the realms of renovation.

English Heritage has confirmed new "masterplans" are being drafted and that the developers have expressed a “commitment to repair, refurbish and bring the site back into beneficial use” aiming to start work on essential repairs to the Power Station within 2 months. A spokesman for Treasury Holdings, however, said that “the overall plan for the listed power station was still unclear”. Not exactly ready to send in the builders, then.

Meanwhile, shiny new Barratt Homes are sprouting up on the other side of the road and the sad, old Power Station remains wrapped in aspirational hoarding trumpeting a bright and beautiful future which, sadly, seems ever more unlikely to be seen.

Powerstation facts:

- Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed the red telephone box, Bankside power station (now Tate modern) and Liverpool Cathedral.

- St Paul's Cathedral could be placed inside the power station without touching the sides.

- Infamously, an inflatable pink pig was tethered to one of the southern chimneys in December 1976 for the photo shoot for the cover of Pink Floyd’s album “Animals”. The pig broke free of its moorings and rose into the flight path of London Heathrow Airport to the surprise of pilots in approaching planes. The runaway pig was tracked by police helicopters before coming to ground in Kent.

- Over the last 25 years plans for the Power Station’s refurbishment have included the creation of Disney-style theme parks, ice-rinks, chimney-top restaurants, steam fountains, circuses and rooftop gardens. None have come to pass.

Photo courtesy of Jon's Flickr stream

Sign the online petition to save the chimneys here.

Last Updated 23 March 2007