Battersea Power Station

Gary Gorings original page where I got this story is sadly gone now.

By Gary Goring

Battersea Power Station was designed by Sir Giles Scott (who was also the architect of Liverpool Anglican Cathedral) and opened in 1937. The building was constructed for the former London Power Company on the site of the old Southwark and Vauxhall Water Works for the main purpose of supplying the central and western areas of London with electricity.

The Power Station occupies a 15-acre site and was built as two halves. Construction of the first `A' Station, was commenced in 1929 and the `B' Station in 1944.

Permission for the erection of such a large Power Station as Battersea so close to the centre of London, was only given on the condition that the emissions from the 337 ft . chimneys should be treated to ensure that they were clean and smokeless.

The ultimate capacity of the Power Station was 503,000 kW, produced from an annual coal consumption of over one million tons and a daily water usage of 340 million gallons, which was taken directly from the River Thames for cooling purposes.

Heat from the generating process was used to heat the homes of nearly 10,000 people in the Pimlico and Dolphin square housing estates on the North bank of the Thames.

A 70,000 ton coal store occupied the space between the buildings and the river-front. Coal supplies from the North -East Coast and Welsh ports maintained by a fleet of colliers were unloaded at the jetty by means of a belt conveyor at a rate of 480 tons per hour. A large yard was also constructed to handle rail-borne coal.

The Power Station has been closed since the early 1980's but the structure has been classified as a grade II listed building and cannot be demolished. Many adventurous plans to renovate the site have been suggested but still no firm plans as to the future of Battersea's most famous landmark have yet been made.