In Pictures: Battersea Power Station's Restored Art Deco Control Room

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 21 months ago

Last Updated 02 August 2022

In Pictures: Battersea Power Station's Restored Art Deco Control Room
A control panel with a dizzying array of gauges
The semi-circular control desk which appeared in The King’s Speech, restored as part of Control Room A. Credit: James Parsons

As certain pedants like to inform you, Battersea Power Station is actually Battersea Power StationS — one half of it built in the late 1920s/early 1930s, followed by a 1950s chaser.

You can't tell that so much from the exterior, but you certainly can with the former power station's control rooms. The restored Control Room B was unveiled in 2021, and with its glossy utilitarian goings-on, could be a set from Thunderbirds.

An art deco glass ceiling and wall of controls and gauges
Image: Backdrop Productions

Now, images of the renovated Control Room A have been released, and if anything, it's even more spectacular than its older sibling. Wall upon golden wall of gauges, dials and buttons were used here for decades to divvy up power across London — distributing electricity to the likes of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

Controls panels with a bright golden art deco ceiling above
Image: Backdrop Productions

Control Room A very much HAS been used as a set, too. When the Beeb is broadcasting during the climax of The King's Speech? That's filmed here. As was this dadaist piece of nonsense from the Pythons:

Black and white image of worker in overcoats next to vast control panels
Image: Ian Lidell  

The teak parquet herringbone floor is what you'd expect to see in a swanky ballroom, rather than a power station. And just get a load of that ceiling: the rippled geometric stylings reminds us of the porch of St Olaf House near London Bridge. Makes us want to order a corpse reviver #2 and dance the Charleston underneath it.

They really don't make 'em like they used to.

Black and white image of the control room, empty
Image: Ian Lidell  

Now for the bad news. While Control Room B is set to open to the public as a drinking space later in summer 2022 (and honestly, that's pretty cool), the art deco Control Room A is being saved as a 'a unique events space', so you'll likely have to be invited to a do/hold your wedding reception here in order to get a gander at all this art deco splendiferousness.

The Queen Visiting Battersea Power Station in 1946 - credit Simon Webster Alamy Photos

The renovations to the control rooms are part of a gargantuan overhaul of the former power station, which also includes some somewhat controversial new buildings neighbouring (and enveloping) Giles Gilbert Scott's original architecture — as well as a chimney that'll be fitted with a 'great glass elevator'/viewing platform.

Image: Backdrop Productions

Still, while Battersea Power Station hasn't been pumping out electricity since 1983, just looking at pics of the new Control Room A is making us feel tingly.