Chelsea Bridge and the Battersea Power Station

On a hot Tuesday evening, I walked from Sloane Square down Chelsea Bridge Road to the south bank of the River Thames. Here are photos of Chelsea Bridge taken at precisely 7:10 pm. A cool breeze was blowing, it was rush hour, and cyclists and joggers were barrelling past me.

Does anyone recognize these factory chimneys?

Pink Floyd’s iconic album cover, Animals, released in 1977, featured London’s Battersea Power Station. Here’s the story –

Photographs for the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album were taken in early December 1976. For the photo shoot, an inflatable pink pig, made by the Zeppelin company, was tethered to one of the southern chimneys. However the pig broke free of its moorings and rose into the flight path of London Heathrow Airport to the astonishment of pilots in approaching planes. The runaway pig was tracked by police helicopters before coming to ground in Kent. Whether the pig escaped, or was released on purpose to increase publicity, is not known. Animals was officially launched at an event at Battersea Power Station in January 1977.

So what has become of the Power Station? That’s one of the reasons I went to have a look. After languishing for over three decades and eventually falling into ruin, it passed through the hands of half a dozen bidders and buyers with redevelopment plans, all of them ambitious, expensive and then abandoned. Today it is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors who plan to develop the site to include 250 residential units, bars, restaurants, office space, shops and entertainment spaces.

Situated on the south bank of the River Thames, in Nine Elms, Battersea, an inner-city district of South West London, the building comprises Battersea A Power Station, built in the 1930s, and Battersea B Power Station, in the 1950s. They were built to a near-identical design, providing the four-chimney structure. The station is one of the world’s largest brick buildings and notable for its original, lavish Art Deco interior fittings and decor. The structure remained largely unused for more than 30 years after its closure; in 2008 its condition was described as “very bad” by English Heritage which included it in its Heritage at Risk register.

Photo by David Samuel
Photo by Gaetan Lee

MORE TO COME!

2 thoughts on “Chelsea Bridge and the Battersea Power Station

  1. Glad you are enjoying London, despite the heat. As for power stations, remember that Tate Modern was an electrical generating plant…btw, on your way along n Chelsea, did you stop at the Saatchi Gallery. More to my wife’s taste than mine, but worth a look…

    • Oh, yes, I had forgotten that. I had planned on going to the Tate Modern, but it was too hot so I didn’t go. As for the Saatchi Gallery (Saatchi, by the way, is an Iraqi Jewish name), I did not go. But I see that as from November 2nd, the Tutankhamun treasures will be showing there.

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