01 February 2019

History of Battersea Power Station

Former Power Station workers celebrate the opening of the Heritage and Learning Hub at Circus West Village, the first phase of the regeneration of Battersea Power Station. 

A new, interactive exhibition charting the history of Battersea Power Station has been opened by some of the people who worked in the iconic building more than fifty years ago when it provided a fifth of London’s electricity.

Former Power Station workers shared memories and stories from their experience working in one of the UK’s most recognised buildings, as they celebrated the opening of a new Heritage and Learning Hub at Circus West Village, the first phase of the regeneration.

The exhibition allows visitors to get up close to a carefully curated selection of historical items from within the Power Station and listen to stories detailing the evolution of the Grade II* listed building. Through a variety of interactive tools, guests will be able to gain a deeper understanding of both how the Power Station functioned as well as what the future holds for the building and surrounding area.

The launch of this new space also marks the start of a new initiative by Battersea Power Station (BPS) to track down stories, memories and experiences from those men and women who originally worked in the building. It is hoped that the process will lift the lid on what life was like for those working here when the building provided power to some of the city’s most notable addresses, including Buckingham Palace and Downing Street. These ‘alumni’ are encouraged to get in touch with the team and share their memories by contacting alumni@bpsdc.co.uk

The exhibition contains an historic architectural model from the 1930s alongside a model showing the future of the project. Items from within the art-deco designed Directors’ entrance are on display as well as a mock-up of the iconic Control Room A’s elaborate dials. Historic images of the building, donated by BPS alumni, explain how the Power Station worked as it generated power from 1935-1983 and time-lapse films show the rate of transformation in the area.

Brian Davison, who started work at the Power Station more than 70-years ago, said: “I worked here when I was 16-years-old, working with steam and learnt all about thermal dynamics. It is great that the team at BPS is keeping the history alive - recording the heritage of the building and the stories of the people who worked here is so important.  It is amazing that this place is being brought back to life after being empty for so long – I just wish I could still work here!”

Honor Fishburn, Director of Placemaking at Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “We are delighted to have so many alumni here to help us open this new exhibition and hope that many more will come forward to share their stories and mementos, helping us to unveil the history behind this fascinating building. We encourage anyone who worked in the Power Station to please come forward to share stories, memories and memorabilia. 

Alternatively, simply come down to view the exhibition, explore the Heritage Trail and soak up the atmosphere at one of our great restaurants.”

An interactive Power Station Heritage Trail app has also been created, to further reveal the history of the building. The free to download mobile app, which is narrated by journalist and broadcaster Jonathan Freedland, has a game for younger visitors and an augmented reality (AR) experience that allows people the chance to virtually access one of the most spectacular parts of the building.

The trail is an audio-led experience with transcripts, images and fun ‘Did You Know’ facts and figures, triggered by GPS at key locations around Circus West Village, the first phase of the development that is already open. More than a thousand residents are now living here and almost two million people having visited the variety of independent restaurants, shops, bars and leisure facilities at this new riverside destination. 

To submit your stories or to detail what momentos you have, please email alumni@bpsdc.co.uk. Visit batterseapowerstation.co.uk and follow @BatterseaPwrStn to keep up to date with all the latest information.
 

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