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Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s graceful Art Deco Battersea Power Station defines the river Thames just west of the Houses of Parliament in London. Recognizable for its iconic chimneys, Battersea Power Station consists of two power stations and a larger complex that were built in the 1930s and 1950s. The buildings’ streamlined exterior design and Art Deco interiors, coupled with the engineering achievements of its turbine and heating systems, are a testament to the structure’s extraordinary significance. It is a historic fixture along the Thames for Londoners and visitors to the city alike, and has shown up across popular British culture, making it one of London’s greatest symbolic cultural icons.
Since 1983, Battersea Power Station has been closed to the public, marking a thirty-year period of abandonment and lack of appropriate maintenance. The station was first listed on the Watch in 2004, and its impending demolition was averted. Ten years later, the Power Station’s future is once again in question. Located on prime London real estate, the site is slated for imminent redevelopment. There is concern that current plans do not adequately protect the iconic chimneys and the important viewsheds of the power station’s silhouette. The local community is engaged and vested in the future of their swathe of London, and the international community recognizes the cultural significance of this twentieth-century icon. Inclusion on the Watch seeks to reinvigorate and contribute to conversations regarding the long-term stewardship of Battersea Power Station.
Battersea Power Station was one of nine recipients of a grant from American Express for sites on the 2014 Watch. The award will support awareness-raising public programs. August 2014
IN THE MEDIA
- Battersea Power Station on world threatened heritage list
BBC, October 8, 2013
WORLD MONUMENTS WATCH DAY
Watch Day was celebrated with a walk to various architectural sites around Battersea Power Station. Knowledgeable guides informed speakers about issues along the waterfront, including riverside development. A talk about the challenges facing Battersea Power Station was given outside of the main gates.