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Victorian paper boys outside Battersea Power Station
Photograph: James Parson

Battersea Power Station will finally open its doors to the public next month

The world-famous grade II-listed building has sat unused since 1983 when it closed down

Written by
Ellie Muir
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Since 1975, the brutalist beast that is the Battersea Power Station has sat deserted on the side of the River Thames, waiting to be loved again. At one point during its derelict years, the Grade II listed building nearly fell into complete ruin, until its future was saved in 2012 by a group of developers who decided to turn the powerhouse into a luxury leisure complex. 

A whole decade later, it has finally been announced that the new development will have its grand opening on October 14. The power station has been transformed into a leisure complex with both high-end and affordable clothing brands, a new bookstore, a host of entertainment venues and a food shop that will open in 2023. This redevelopment is part of a £9 billion regeneration project in the Nine Elms area, which also includes more than 4,000 homes, a new NHS building, 19 acres of public space and even a new high street for the local community, named Electric Boulevard. 

And the developers have been getting creative with the old building. One of its four famous chimneys has been converted into a 109-metre-high lift experience, offering 360-degree panoramic views of London’s skyline. Meanwhile, the power station’s former control rooms have been repurposed into a swanky events space, with the original dials and controls still intact.

The Grade II-listed building was built between 1929 and 1955, in two halves, ‘Battersea A’ and ‘Battersea B’, and operated as a coal-fired power station, before being decommissioned and shut down in 1983. In its heyday, the gargantuan power temple supplied a fifth of all of London’s electricity, including the power to Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament and Carnaby Street. It has been a central London headache ever since – what do you do with such a vast site right in the middle of a city? 

Overall the Battersea redevelopment project is a whopping 42 acres in size and is predicted to provide more than 17,000 jobs and bring £20 billion into the capital’s economy. The development is owned by a consortium of Malaysian investors.

With familiar names like Zara and an M&S foodhall coming to the new shopping destination, it looks like Nine Elms is going up in the world, and the world’s most famous power station won’t be lonely or unloved anymore.

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