The Saddest Building in London

Unlike its smaller sister in Bankside which successfully transmogrified into a galley for modern art, this iconic industrial building has remained empty for over 25 years. Both power stations were designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, the man who gave us the red phone box. Bankside was completed in 1945 and its larger sister was completed in 1955 making Battersea the largest brick building in Europe.

[W]ith its Art Deco exterior Battersea Power Station was given Grade II* listed status in October 1980 but only three years later on 31st October 1983 it was closed and the Central Electricity Generating Board launched a competition to find a future use for the building.

This building appears to have The Sword of Damocles hanging over it. Every development seems to go nowhere. First the winner of the competition the Roche Consortium was quickly taken over by John Broome who announced plans for a Disneyland style theme park costing £34 million. However, costs quickly escalated and work stopped in March 1989 leaving the Power Station in its present semi-derelict and exposed state. Since then, the Power Station has languished without a roof, the steel work exposed to the elements and the foundations prone to flooding.

A brave group of individuals The Battersea Power Station Community Group was formed in November 1983 to provide a forum for the local community to air its views and to find a future use for the Battersea Power Station and the large site.

But now it looks like the Phoenix might rise from the ashes of failed dreams, an Irish company named Treasury Holdings, run by Richard Barrett and Johnny Ronan want to redevelop the Power Station.

Their company has come up with a £4.5 billion scheme to restore the Grade II* listed industrial landmark which have been approved by Wandsworth Council. But now an objection has been raised by City Hall. The centre piece of this development is at tall tower, which officials claim will overlook The Houses of Parliament, also for some perverse reason the chimneys will have to be shortened by 50 feet.

Centre Point Fountains
centre-point-fountainsI’m as mad as Hell about this one. In another ‘redevelopment’ site on the western side of
Centre Point, to make way for the Crossrail project,
some modern iconic fountains are being
removed.

The Grade II* listed fountains, built in 1963, are to be removed and replaced with huge ventilation shafts and an underground ticket hall for the new Hawkins Brown-designed Crossrail station at the busy intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street.

But heritage groups and architects have demanded the fountains be incorporated in the area’s redevelopment amid claims of a wider threat to 20th century public art and sculpture. They are unconvinced the fountains have to be removed as they are integral to the building.

Quite how a listed fountain can be removed without any suitable plans to resite it remains an anathema to CabbieBlog.

Just keep you eye on Trafalgar Square, just in case those fountains get in the way of ‘development’.

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