Man About Town: A new start for Battersea Power Station

It seems that something is finally going to happen to the station rather than just existing as a venue for exclusive events

Share
Related Topics

The sun was setting on the river as I arrived at Battersea Power Station. Most guests arrived in cars, but I chose to walk along the Thames, and across the barren landscape to the main building.

It was like walking onto the film set of a blockbuster centred around this brick cathedral.

It wasn’t, however, a film set, but Gabrielle’s Gala, a now annual event hosted by songwriter and socialite Denise Rich. The cause - leukaemia and lymphoma research in the UK - was a great one, the speakers were moving, the calibre of star supporters – Tom Hardy, Jeremy Piven and Duffy – high, and the entertainment – Jessie J performed a set – was very entertaining.

But the unsung star of the night, was the building itself. Although it finally stopped working the year I was born, it is one of the most recognisable and, to employ a much-overused word, iconic buildings in the country. When I moved from south London, where I had grown up, to the north side of town, my family gave me a painting of the place to remind me of home.

I have been inside a handful of times since in the past couple of years, but only because work has taken me to  expensively funded parties.

After years of being held onto by various developers as a safer investment than a bank, it seems that something is finally going to happen to the station rather than just existing as a venue for exclusive events: with a “new development” offering the “real estate opportunity of a lifetime”.

Despite the obvious housing crisis, I’m not sure that the country needs more luxury flats that offer river views. Nor do we really need more of the generic chains that make every high street in Britain another soulless replica of its nearest neighbour.

It’s hard to tell from lush, colourful computer-generated images what it will actually be like. And it might be wishful thinking, it would be nice if there was a combination of public space and unspoilt views of the building.

As we left, after midnight, the darkness battled the massive spotlights illuminating the walls, making the building look even more striking. The site is opening to the public later this month for the first time for the Chelsea Fringe Festival. Whatever is on there, it would be worth going to see the building up close.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

British economy: Government hails the latest GDP figures, but there is still room for skepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Comedy queen: Miranda Hart has said that she is excited about working on the new film  

There is no such thing as a middle-class laugh

David Lister
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform