Battersea Power Station is not only one of the best loved landmarks in London but also one of the first large coal-fired electrical generating facilities set up in England. Construction started in 1929 to be completed 10 years later as part of the National Grid power distribution system. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was responsible for the design of the building; he also designed Liverpool Cathedral, Bankside Power Station, Waterloo Bridge and the classic red telephone box.
The power station was generating electricity until 1983. It is Europe’s largest brick building and famous for its Art Deco interior. The power station is on the English Heritage ‘Buildings at Risk Register’, its condition has been described as ‘very bad’; it was also on the World Monuments Fund's list of the hundred most endangered sites.
The building is owned by Real Estate Opportunities, an Irish company that bought the power station for £400 million in November 2006. It has now announced plans to relaunch Battersea Power station as a power generater, but this time of the renewable sort. The company has plans to develop the whole site to create an area of hotel, retail and residential accommodation with a strong emphasis on sustainable living.
The site is currently (August 2008) still open to take people on tours around the historic, architectural splendor, but please check the website for future visits as development is likely to change this over the coming months.