June 26, 2017 Mike Weston

Daytripper. Looking For Pigs On The Wing

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It’s no news to any of you that I’m a bit of a Floyd fan.

I’ve collected a few bits of memorabilia down the line, and have always been on the lookout for any nuggets and news pertaining to the mighty Floyd. (Also looking forward to getting down to the V&A for the Floyd exhibition there too!)

Anyway, recently I discovered that Andre, a friend of mine, was working on the construction project that’s being built around the architectural marvel that is Battersea Power Station.

I hinted to him a few months back that I’d love to visit the site that featured on the album cover for Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’. Well, last week I finally got the call that it was cleared to give me a look around the site.

I’ve been excited all week and on Sunday finally headed over to Battersea for my personal guided tour.

With all the good weather we’ve had in the UK lately it unfortunately looked ominous for the first time in days, but luckily for me the rain held off, and although I didn’t have the blue skies that were available every other day of the week, the threatening clouds on the day actually mirrored the feel of the sky on Floyd’s album cover.

As soon as I got there I put on the safety gear and we headed on up to the roof.

One of the stipulations of the development was that the power station had to remain as it was with the four chimneys, but, after the years of neglect since the mid-eighties they were crumbling. All the chimneys needed replacing. This process is finally nearing completion and as you can see in the above picture the two on the right are grey, waiting to be painted.

We then headed down into the belly of the beast.

When you go past it on the train you never really get a sense of scale on how massive the building is. Since the Eighties there have been several plans put forward as a use for the old power station.

One idea was for a theme park, and another was for a new home for Chelsea football club. I always found it hard to imagine the latter (not least as a Spurs fan!), but once I was down on the ground it became apparent that you could easily fit a soccer stadium inside there.

I learned also that when it was first constructed it only had two chimneys. It was a long structure with a chimney at each end, which was then doubled to increase power capacity giving London its now familiar landmark.

The first building was constructed in the early 1900’s. And it’s design was a temple to electrical engineering, decorated throughout in an art deco style, finished off with murals and marble. Thatcher had  most of this detail pulled out and sold for scrap in the 80’s. A tragic mistake, but as you can see in the images below some details still remain.

Here’s a close up!

As you can see, still lots to do here, and it will be a couple of years before the project is finally finished. A new tube station is being built there too so I look forward to returning then and seeing the results!

Big thanks to Andre for taking me around the site. Climbing up to the roof on the scaffolding stairs was pretty scary, and even more so coming down, and it was only after I’d left the place that I realised I didn’t get a shot of me there… how could I let that happen!

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