Control Room A 2022 (c) James Parsons

Battersea Power Station – Opening Day

Battersea Power Station – Opening Day

A look inside the extraordinary megaproject – by Mack Mooney.

On Friday 14th October, I attended the grand opening of Battersea Power Station, where some 40 years after it was decommissioned, the public was allowed back through the doors. The iconic building had been sat abandoned and derelict since the 1980s but has now been transformed into a shopping and leisure complex that contains over 250 shops, 400 stylish apartments and 500,000 square feet of office space. 

At 10 am, after a performance from the Battersea Community choir, a speech from the Mayor of London and a spectacular fireworks display, we were finally allowed to enter the historic landmark. 

The gigantic Grade II* listed building features a range of bars, restaurants, a cinema and even a glass lift in one of the chimneys to provide a 109-metre-high viewing experience across the Thames. The two turbine halls are now shopping centres that house a vast array of carefully curated brands from around the world. Turbine Hall A, built in the 1930s, evokes the lavish Art Deco glamour of its era. Turbine Hall B, completed in the 1950s, is a relic of the brutalist architecture of that period and has a more industrial look and feel. The power station’s control rooms have also been restored, with control room A now a hospitality space for hire and control room B an all-day cocktail bar. Control room A is a unique spectacle. The room beautifully preserves the 1930s-style interior. It contains a golden bank of buttons, dials and switches that were used here for decades to distribute power across London. The restored control and turbine halls are examples of how the designers and engineers were not only aiming to modernise the building but were meticulous in maintaining the original feeling of the power station. 

The megaproject will benefit the local area massively. The local MP for Battersea, Marsha de Cordova, spoke before the countdown, “This will bring some fantastic developments for our community, both economically and socially but also environmentally.” The new Battersea Power Tube Station, which sits on the Northern Line, is a stone’s throw from the site and will make the area increasingly accessible. Sadiq Khan boasted of the “5 million journeys” made to the station in the past year alone. The mayor also took time to thank the Malaysian investors who financed the project, investing over £9 billion. “Thank you for believing in South London,” he spoke. Khan was openly proud to witness this development happening in the borough he grew up in. 

After a decade-long restoration, billions of pounds spent and 1.75 million new bricks, the edifice that is Battersea Power station is full of life and will help attract people from all over the globe.