Is Battersea Power Station Britain's Second Worst Eyesore?

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 95 months ago
Is Battersea Power Station Britain's Second Worst Eyesore?

2203_battersea.jpg
Photo / naughton321
A survey conducted by Beautiful Britain magazine has ranked Giles Gilbert Scott's broken but beloved riverside power station as the second worst eyesore in the country.

The mag, which (to judge by its website) has a taste that tacks towards the bucolic, commissioned the survey to find out which vistas are most crippling to the corneas of its readership, and the forlorn Battersea plant came 2nd in the list. Described in a press release as a "cringe-worthy landmark", Battersea proved less unpopular than the No. 1 item on the list, to whit, "motorways", but more reviled among the 5,000 people surveyed than "M1 service stations", which fell in at No. 3. Doesn't say much for BB's survey-taking skills that the top three of this hopelessly haphazard list include a building, a key part of the country's transport infrastructure, and a series of privately-operated roadside conveniences.

A look at the top ten reveals a Luddite's view of modern Britain: other egregious erections that have dared to sully the wide open spaces of their Constable-coloured vision, include "wind farms" and "electricity pylons". The Millennium Dome also finds itself sitting within the top 10 most offensive objects, though by describing it as a "financial flop" that "failed to attract visitors" suggests a lack of engagement in its post-2006 rebirth as the O2.

What say you, people of London? Is Battersea as bad as Beautiful Britain says it is?

Last Updated 23 March 2010

mralistair

if they think it's ugly now.. wait until Vinoly is finished with it

Tomtiredoflondon

That list is pissing ridiculous. Battersea Power Station is beautiful. and the Angel of the North? What are these people thinking?

Guest

Until the inflatable pink pig, learning to fly, can breathe in the air, it will always, like a distant ship, smoke on the horizon, be beautiful to me.

gorillapie

How utterly ridiculous to tar a Grade 2*-listed icon of industrial Art Deco like Battersea Power Station with the same brush as genuine eyesores like motorway services. The list of favourite buildings looks like it was put together by Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells for some Daily Mail/BNP 'Best of Britain' fascist recruitment campaign. Speechless.

sinisterpictures

Looking at this list, was it a poll in Der Hate Mail?

BRIT’S FAVOURITE LANDMARKS
1. Big Ben
2. Stonehenge
3. White Cliffs of Dover
4. Edinburgh Castle
5. London Eye
6. St Paul’s Cathedral
7. Buckingham Palace
8. Tower Bridge
9. Houses of Parliament
10. Roman Baths in Bath

Tomtiredoflondon

I think you've probably got to ask yourself who reads Beautiful Britain magazine...

My bet would be on ladies older than 68. I bet if you draw a Venn Diagram with W.I. members the middle space is pretty large.

markle

Sorry, but I think they have a point.

The building has beauty, but it is currently sitting neglected and decrepit, in an all-but abandoned state, in the middle of industrial wasteland.

27 years of Battersea residents objecting to every redevelopment proposal are beginning to show their impact on the building, as it's been left to crumble.

TBH Wandsworth need to approve *something* for the site, and soon, so that the building gets the work that it needs, and starts getting maintained properly.

At this rate, the building will end up collapsing before anything gets approved, which would be a tragic loss.

littleonesaid

Battersea Power Station is beautiful. These people are fools! If they want eyesores, they should look a little further east at the Vauxhall bus station, or the Elephant and Castle hub (complete with the new phillishave tower).
But I agree with @markle - It really does need some TLC rather desperately. It would be heart breaking to see it left to decay to the point where it becomes structurally unsound and has to be torn down.

mirkle

I never understood why it was so important to keep this building. How many ex power stations does a city need to keep? The Tate is great, but the city will never develop if we arent allowed to knock anything down that was built before the war. I'd much prefer new interesting buildings or better, just the space where it once was. Photography keeps old stuff alive - indeed, the only reason why Battersea Power Station is still there is due to one lousy photograph from the seventies. Isn't that icon enough ?

SebBrennan

Markle, as a former neighbour of Battersea Power Station, I can tell you that it's current forlorn state is nothing to do with Battersea NIMBYs opposing development plans. It's because the numerous 'developers' who have owned the site over the last 27 years have been able to make far more money by just holding on to the land, watching value rise, and then flogging it to another bunch of chancers.

A cynic would suggest that, if eventually the power station becomes unsafe, and has to be demolished, the cleared site would be worth vastly more again.

It's because of this, and Tory-run Wandsworth Council's unwillingness to get strict with their friends in the private sector, that Gilbert-Scott's masterpiece is in such a state.
And Mirkle (no relation I assume?)- when people like me were campaigning to save Bankside, in the days before Tate Modern bought it, most commentators said 'Why save it? It's not as good as Battersea- that's the only GGS power station with any architectural merit. And it ruins the view from St Paul's'. Funny how a few years and a posh rooftop resturant changes the consensus, eh?

Johnny

Knock it down. It's a hideous ugly thing.

Let's have a green space there...a garden

Rachel

It should be the be the most sought-after housing development in London, instead of the shabby shell of a failed power station that it is. In Glasgow, they made the mistake of keeping grubby, useless old facades of buildings propped up by scaffolding for years, before belatedly realising that doing so was of no use to anyone, least of all anyone with an interest in beautiful buildings. E.g., the Old Granary in the West End (now the modern Glasgow Harbour riverside housing development),  and many of the old shells of buildings in the Toll Cross area of the East End (now, thankfully, cleared and being redeveloped). Similarly, they should knock the useless shell that is Battersea Power Station flat, and build something Londoners can be proud of in its place.