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GES003 - Lots Road Power Station

September 2009

One can't help but notice the huge chimneys of L Road Power Station dominating the skyline as the King's Road heads into Chelsea. Always keen to explore with the least amount of travel necessary, I opted to give it a go. I was aware that sadly the wonderful control room was no longer there, and erm, nor were the turbines, in fact nor were the interesting looking outbuildings. But maybe there was something worth the effort.

As it used to look with all 4 chimneys. Copyright London Transport Museum

LR Power Station is a disused coal and later oil-fired power station on the River Thames at Lots Road in Chelsea, London which supplied electricity to the District Line on the London Underground system. It was operational as of 1905, using coal as fuel. It was claimed to be the largest power station in the world when completed. In the 1960's it was refitted to use heavy oil as fuel, and in the 1970s it was converted again to use Natural North Sea Gas for fuel. In the 1990s it was decided to no longer upgrade it, and it was left to run until no longer be useable, and it ceased functioning in October 2002.

As seen from L Road.

I had originally thought about crossing Chelsea Creek via the bridge to get to the building, as it had a fair amount of cctv watching over the Lots Rd side. However after climbing huge spiked railings into the area where the coal would have been stored for the Power Station, I decided there must be an easier way and less likely to be spotted.

So I hopped into the site, and hid behind a mound of earth until a security guard had walked by. It was then a stroll into the building through an open doorway. I found myself at the bottom of a huge hall.

At the other end of which is the concrete blocks where the turbines would have sat. The seemingly endless steel beams stretching into the distance above.

Down amongst the rubble was a collection of old lights and pieces that were to be saved from the station, including a warning indicator board.

Above the entrance to the building sat a huge crane, it's hook hanging low.

I began to climb up to the roof, a staircase near where I entered provided a convenient way up. (Apologies for the quality of this photo, worse than usual)

A view over the turbine end of the main hall from the crane.

I continued on up, and came to a thin bridge that crossed over the station. Not being the best with heights I didn't feel too comfortable. Getting bomb dived by Pigeons didn't help. I did manage to set up my camera precariously for a shot of the roof arches though.

I then went onto the roof to take in the view, almost forgetting I should mind my head.

However I was a little worried when a police van pulled up at the waterworks next door. They weren't there for me though. I decided against climbing the glass roof to get to the other side, and opted to return down to the ground floor. There I walked into a chimney for a looksie.

Now on the river side of the station, away from the main hall, there was evidence of the continuing work going on here. The old steel beams still clearly visible.

One floor up and more of the steel girders become ever more visible.

Most of the floors were just completely gutted, so wasn't much else to see. I walked up to the window to see where the guard was, but no sign. In the distance I spotted my next explore target, the familiar upturned table of Battersea.

Startling an early morning jogger, I hopped away from the site having completed another successful explore.

More info and photos of the Old LR Power Station here:

http://mikes.railhistory.railfan.net/

and here

http://www.ltmcollection.org/photos/