Battersea Power Station has today unveiled the first images of its newly restored Control Room A, ahead of the Grade II* listed building’s opening this Autumn. Accessed through the Directors’ Entrance to the south of the building with its bronze doors adorned with sculptural panels depicting a personification of energy, Control Room A is poised to become a unique events space within the historic Power Station. The room will offer visitors a one-of-a-kind experience as they take in the beauty of the preserved Art Deco interior, with a panoramic view of Turbine Hall A.
Built between 1929 and 1931, Control Room A was the Power Station’s original control room; its controls and dials sending power across the capital from Carnaby Street to Wimbledon – even powering Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament – from 1933. Art Deco style was of the moment with Control Room A boasting teak parquet flooring laid in a herringbone pattern and walls tiled in grey Italian marble offset by black Belgian marble detailing through the room, matched by a gold painted coffered glass ceiling.
At its peak, Battersea Power Station produced a fifth of London’s electricity, and Control Room A, later joined by Control Room B, which was finished in the 1950s, managed the distribution of electricity generated by the Power Station’s turbines. Control Room A remained in use until 1975 when the 1930s half of the building, which includes Turbine Hall A, closed down. Battersea Power Station was fully decommissioned in 1983.
Battersea Power Station has worked closely with Historic England, Wandsworth Council, lead architects WilkinsonEyre and Lucas UK, the specialists who have led the restoration of Control Room A. Attention to detail was key, with the two banks of switchboards that run north-south along the western side of the room having been meticulously restored alongside the large synchroscopes, which provided further information to engineers on duty when the Power Station was operational. The semi-circular control desk, which appeared in the Academy Award-winning film, The King’s Speech, is another original feature that has been painstakingly preserved and revived. Other major films that have been shot in Control Room A include Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
Control Room A is of stark contrast to its sister Control Room B, which was built later in the century upon construction of the second half of the Power Station. Completed post-war, Control Room B is more austere in its architecture, and opens out directly into the similar Turbine Hall B – in comparison to Control Room A, which is an entirely separate room.
The Control Rooms make up just one element of the exemplary restoration that has taken place across the entirety of the Power Station, which has been decades in the making. Opening to the public from this Autumn will be both Turbine Halls, several floors of the Boiler House and the north-west chimney, which will be home to the chimney lift experience – a glass elevator taking visitors 109 metres in the air with stunning 360-degree views of London’s skyline.
Simon Murphy, CEO at Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said:
“The unveiling of our completely restored Control Room A is another pivotal moment in the regeneration of this iconic Grade II* listed building. It has been a key objective to bring these historic areas back to life, whilst remaining true to their original forms. We are looking forward to bringing a new purpose to this piece of London’s history upon our opening this Autumn and to showing the public all of the incredibly detailed restoration work undertaken over the past decade to open this landmark up for all.”
Emily Gee, London and the South East Regional Director, Historic England, said:
“We are delighted that the refurbishment of Control Room A at Battersea Power Station is now complete. Battersea Power Station has fully recognised the vital contribution that Control Room A makes to significance of the Grade II* listed building, and this is reflected in the meticulous programme of conservation and repair which has been undertaken in close consultation with Historic England and Wandsworth Council. This is a huge achievement and another milestone reached as this exciting project nears completion.”
Chris Davies, Associate at WilkinsonEyre, said:
“Following the years of careful conservation and repair, the high-quality original finishes and fittings remain the defining features of this dramatic centrepiece at the heart of the Power Station. With its glowing dials reflecting the locations to which the station distributed electricity back in the 1930s, and restored glass ceiling, the former nerve centre can be revealed in its full glory.”
Danny Lucas, Executive Chairman & Managing Director of Lucas UK, said:
“Our work restoring the Control Rooms at Battersea Power Station has allowed us to not only demonstrate our heritage capability, but also push the boundaries of innovation and technology. With sustainability at the fore, we have been able to exploit methods previously never used when working with Listed Buildings such as digital colour scanning to match the original 1930s paint and 3D printing methods taken from Formula 1 to replicate missing dials, knobs and levers.
“Our restoration team have worked tirelessly and with painstaking attention to detail to meet the stringent requirements laid down by Historic England and the architects, that will ensure what we leave is authentic to the original Power Station and there to be enjoyed by visitors to Battersea for the next 100 years.”
Upon opening, Battersea Power Station will form the centrepiece of a new ‘15-minute’ live, work and play neighbourhood, which will act as a town centre for the immediate and wider local communities, a new business quarter for the capital and an experiential destination for Londoners and international visitors. Inside the Power Station there will be 254 residential apartments, over 100 retail shops, restaurants and cafes, unique event spaces, a cinema, office space and a chimney lift experience.
A number of British and international retail brands, including Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Mango, Space NK, Aesop and Hugo Boss, will be setting up shop inside the Power Station alongside The Cinema at The Power Station a new cinema and private members club, with sister sites including The Cinema at Selfridges and The Cinema in The Arches located in Circus West Village, the first chapter of the Battersea Power Station development.
The bustling Circus West Village – the first chapter in the regeneration of Battersea Power Station, already includes customer favourites such as Sugen Gopal’s Roti King, Francesco Mazzei’s Fiume and Chef Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Kitchen. The vibrant riverside neighbourhood is home to more than 1,800 residents and over 20 cafés, bars, restaurants, shops, fitness and leisure facilities.
With the Northern Line having been extended to give this new neighbourhood its very own Zone 1 London Underground station, bringing it within 15 minutes of the West End and the City, Battersea Power Station is expected to draw visitors from across the capital and the globe, becoming one of London’s most visited destinations, boosting the local economy and creating over 17,000 jobs.
The experience will continue on a new high street, Electric Boulevard, which runs from the south of the Power Station, between the stunning Frank Gehry designed Prospect Place and Foster + Partners’ Battersea Roof Gardens. Electric Boulevard will offer a mix of office space, shops, bars and restaurants, a park, community hub and an exciting new 164 room hotel from art’otel®, the brand’s first hotel to open in London.