GES002 - Battersea Power Station
I have been here a silly amount of times, I think about 8 times in total. The first time I scouted out the main gates only to have a police car roar up. A cop jumped out and asked what I was up to a 4am. A natural question to ask one might think. I said I was doing some night photography, and was going to have a whiz by the gate before remembering that would be wrong. He explained they were keeping an eye out for graffiti artists, and asked to see in my bag. A quick search and they were off. I walked up the hoarding to find a spot where the countless cctv couldn't see me, and used some bins to hop a high barbed wire lined fence to the ground below the main rail tracks into Victoria station across the river. A trip under the arches and over a hoarding and I was in.
Next was to get into the building, a simple enough task involving crossing heras fencing, the noisiest of all fences! Finally in the building I found the temporary staircase to the white room and Control Room A above it. Unfortunately i couldn't find a way to Control Room A due to a large void area beneath it. Back to the drawing board. It was then a hop over and around more fences and I passed the lovely Art Deco paintings on A side wall, the lights of Control Room A beaming out of the lovely art deco windows above.
After that I was in the main courtyard, witnessing the majesty of the power station. It's chimneys towering into the sky. The scaffold holding the sides of the station up, chimneys with scaffold reaching up to them.
I then wandered over to B side, ducking and diving the matrix of fences. I found countless dead ends and ways above teasing me. I emerged on the ground floor on the far side of B in rising daylight now. Not sure of where to go next, i called it quits this time.
My second trip was a pretty much instant fail, as i approached the station I could hear Pink Floyd's 'Pigs on the Wing' playing from the seminal album featuring the station on it's cover. On crossing the heras and into the station, mauve lights were sweeping back and forth along the main courtyard. Curious I crept ever closer. On turning the corner by the side directors stairwell door, I almost bumped into a guy dressed in black, a tech engineer. I manoeuvred around the building to the far B side, and saw what was going on. It was a organised breast cancer walk combined with open house weekend. So all the people on the breast cancer walk were walking to the A side entrance and looking into the station before going back out again. I sneaked up a scaffold stair to the building that arches out of B side, hi-vised security all around the area along with technical trucks. The door was padlocked and the roof lead nowhere. I worked out how I was going to get further the next time though.
Third trip and this time I got to work quickly, and tried the side Directors stairwell door, but no joy. It was then over to B side where I finally managed to get up to B side. I climbed to the roof exploring the huge open floors with interesting bits here and there.
Near the river side huge gaps in the building where demolition had taken place.
By now daylight was in full swing, and the sun blasted through the eastern side of the building, coming through the stairs on B side.
I found where Control Room B (Or Switch Room, depending on who you speak too) was, but it was sealed and padlocked. Also a small cctv camera was watching. Finally I got to the top of the stairs and found only half a door greeting me, the other half appeared to have been kicked through. Out on the roof I was getting good views of the river and London along the Thames. I decided to go for the scaffolding, but my vertigo got the better of me, and I stopped as I got level with the top wall of B side. The views were still good.
I looked around the offices on the south eastern side of the station, piles of clutter on the ground floor and a plaque commerating Margaret Thatchers trip there. Tired and it being bright daylight, I wandered back to A side, and had a last look at the door I'd tried in the dark. I noticed that all that was preventing me gaining access was a long screw. I pushed it to one side and the lock dropped out and hey presto, the door was open. I walked through, past some building covers and I was in the directors reception with the amazing foyer crammed with Art Deco loveliness.
The lift is a national treasure in itself, as is the whole building.
I climbed the stairs that wrap around the lift, and came out on the gantry that leads across to Control Room A, the prize of the station. However I was greeted with padlocks
Disappointed I climbed up onto A side roof. Disturbing a load of pigeons on the roof to get what I hoped would be a good picture.
With police helicopters buzzing around and hovering, I didn't feel it was a good idea to hang around, so back out of A side, put the door back as I'd found it, and away.
More trips and the Control Rooms to follow in another post..