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Battersea Power Station
Battersea, London
associated engineer
C. Seager Berry
date  March 1929 - 1933, 1941 -1944, 1951 - 1953
era  Modern  |  category  Power Generation  |  reference  TQ288775
ICE reference number  HEW 2290
One of the first three, purpose-built English 'superstations' opened between 1931-1933 and designed to house the larger turbo-alternators necessary to meet increased demand.
Power from the superstations fed into the UK's National Grid, created in 1933 when the existing regional grids were connected together. Consent for the building of the coal-fired station was given in October 1927.
At the time of opening Battersea was the largest generator of electricity in Europe and its form set the pattern for power stations over the next 20 years.
The western half — Battersea A — was built 1929-33 in the Art Deco style. It has a steel girder frame with a brick-clad exterior and reinforced concrete chimneys. The ornate interior was lined with faience and marble and featured parquet floors, wrought iron staircases and sculpted bronze doors.
The eastern half — Battersea B — was constructed in 1941-55 with a Modernist interior. Its existence was anticipated in the design of the western half.
Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the external elevations of the whole building, and is responsible for such well-recognised details as the parapet and the fluted chimneys with their triumphal bases. J. Theo Halliday conceived the overall shape and the interiors, while structural design was by C.S. Allot & Son.
Battersea A began generating in 1933, providing 400MW of electricity. This capacity was increased to 509MW in 1953 when Battersea B started up. In addition, the station opened a combined heat and power system in July 1951 — the Pimlico District Heating Scheme — which piped hot water under the River Thames to a development of some 3,200 flats.
Battersea A ceased generation in 1975 and Battersea B in 1983. The iconic building has been Grade II listed since October 1980.
In 1989, the roof and west wall were demolished in order to remove the boilers and turbines as part of work to turn the structure into an industrial heritage theme park. Unfortunately, the development didn't proceed and the roof and wall were never replaced, leaving Battersea open to the elements. Various other proposals for the site have been made in recent years.
Battersea Power Station appears on the cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album Animals, with an inflatable pink pig, made by Zeppelin, tethered between the south chimneys.
Architect (exteriors): Sir Giles Gilbert Scott
Architect (interiors): J. Theo Halliday, Halliday & Agate
Main contractor (1933): John Mowlem & Co Ltd
Steelwork (1933): Sir William Arrol & Co Ltd
Generating plant: S.L. Pearce, London Power Company
Cooling towers: L.G. Mouchel & Partners
Research: ECPK
bibliography
www.batterseapowerstation.org.uk
www.theheritagetrail.co.uk
reference sources   CEH Lond
Location

Battersea Power Station