Lonely Planet Writer

London's Battersea Power Station’s iconic chimneys are set to be restored

The iconic chimneys at London’s Battersea Power Station  have been rebuilt as part of the site’s redevelopment, reports the Standard. The four 51m-high chimneys have featured in Dr Who episodes and on the cover of a Pink Floyd album, and were reconstructed manually using 25,000 wheelbarrow-loads of concrete.

Battersea Power Station, with its four iconic chimneys
London’s famous Battersea Power Station. Image by Claudio Divizio ShutterstockRF.

The original chimneys were built in the 1930s and 1950s as part of a coal-fired power station that once supplied a fifth of London’s electricity. Since it was decommissioned in 1983, various proposals – including a football stadium and a theme park – were considered. The building decayed and at one point it was feared that the chimneys would have to be destroyed.

Battersea Power Station, London.
Battersea Power Station at twilight. Image by Andrew Thomas/Getty Images

Battersea Power Station, just south-west of central London, is the biggest brick building in Europe, large enough to hold both St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square. Its redevelopment is a massive project that will cost £9 billion and include 4000 homes, Apple’s new European HQ, a concert hall, shops, restaurants and cinemas. A gas-powered energy centre will pump steam through two of the new chimneys.

The redevelopment has been criticised for favouring luxury flats over affordable housing – a key issue in a city where rents have soared. Only 636 affordable homes will be included. The ambitious project will open up the riverfront outside the power station to the public for the first time in 90 years, and one chimney will contain a glass lift and be topped by a viewing platform.

Work on the chimneys is ongoing, with 375 litres of paint expected to be used over the summer to restore them to their original “light ivory” colour. The development will be completed in 2026, although the shopping areas and new Battersea Power Station tube stop will open in 2020.