Another of the sites made accessible during London Open House over recent years was the famous Battersea Power Station. Located in SW London on the Thames, its iconic chimneys make it one of the most recognizable sites in town looming across the river from Pimlico and Chelsea. Despite not having produced electricity since 1983 the station has become a bit of a pop-culture icon as the incredible art-deco interior and overall structure sat idle and decayed for many years, while appearing in art of all kinds from album covers to t-shirts and posters sold to tourists.
Since closure a number of developers have looked at refurbishing the site and the building and re-purposing it into something new, while retaining as much of the old structure as would be possible. The government in particular demanded that the chimneys be preserved as part of any conversion; this demand and other restrictions made redevelopment a not so easy task and one that was to fail several times. After years of starts and stops a Malaysian group finally took control of the site and began redevelopment for mixed office and residential use with completion scheduled over the next several years.
As a result, the City decided to open the building to the public one last time before it was closed indefinitely for reconstruction. Open only a few days during the London Open House weekend, lines stretched out of the site and into neighboring areas and I actually didn't even make it it the first day despite spending several hours waiting only to be told there was no point in doing so! Coming back bright and early the next day we were able to see a fair bit of the old plant including at least some of the art-deco bits and the now very decayed shell, making for excellent shooting conditions.
It was a truly unique experience and I was thrilled to be able to investigate the complex before it goes on to provide further service in its second life.