battersea odyssey…

By amy ~ September 25th, 2013 @ 11:45 am

Wandsworth-20130922-01979And after a nothing short of frantic week (and there still has yet to be a day where at least one brisk walk of at least thirty minutes has not been par for the course) I have officially done something which was more fun than I’d have ever thought; namely ticking something off my To Do list that I didn’t know was on it, at least in the sense that I had no idea that it would ever be a possibility.

Spending an overcast Sunday morning poking around a derelict power station in South London may not be everybody’s idea of a rip-roaring time, but for those (like me) whose heart has been gladdened by the sight of the four white chimneys every time they pop up on the horizon for as long as they can remember, it was nothing short of a dream come true and being a veteran queuer (five and a half hours for a Frightfest pass, hour and a half David Bowie exhibition preview, an hour at Shake Shack in eighty-five degree heat) I was up with the lark, on the 344 bus before half past nine and in my favourite building ever by ten past eleven – yay!bps22sepAccording to the blurb, the brick cathedral that is Battersea Power Station was opened – as it’s fabulous Art Deco features would suggest – in 1933 and at one time generated the electricity for one fifth of London all by itself. The very grand exterior was the work of architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who designed the equally iconic red phone box (and subsequently Bankside Power Station, now home to the Tate Modern) and was apparently hired following concerns that a gigantic and prominently placed coal fired power station could potentially be a bit of an eyesore. No shit.

As we can all see from the pictures, there’s little left now bar the (thankfully Grade II listed) exterior shell, another much-mooted redevelopment project looms and since this was likely the last time anybody would get to see it, London’s citizens (and everybody I spoke to in the queue was reasonably local or had been at one time) in their droves grabbed the chance with both hands and a fervour normally reserved for the free brownie samples which they sometimes give out at Konditor and Cook – forty thousand visited over the weekend if reports are to be believed. I sincerely hope they all enjoyed it as much as I did.Gherkin22sepAfter strolling around Battersea’s friendly red bricks for an hour or so peering through holes and gaps in scaffold and fences, my next stop (after a very enjoyable if lengthy return trip on the 344, which gave my feet a chance to recover a bit) was planned to be 30 St Mary Axe or the Gherkin (also open – on the Saturday only – was the Lloyds building which you-guessed-it I also have photos of) but I sadly had to enjoy it’s lovable shiny roundiness from the outside in the end, partly because the three hour queue (and conversely, this one containing many tourists from the US; easily identifiable by their inexplicable penchant for walking around central London dressed as anyone else would for a hiking expedition in the Andes) was too much even for me to take on without any lunch, and mostly because photo ID was required on entry (I don’t walk around with my passport in my handbag) so a trip back across the river for a celebratory steak-frites-béarnaise at Black & Blue was swiftly decided on as a replacement activity before hometime. I can report that the cruel rumours of indifferent chips are completely unfounded (and see below).black&blueThe Open House London event (which true to form I knew nothing about, given that most of my time in the capital is spent stuck in whichever building I’m paying £200 per night to rent me a room) is held every year to allow architecture nerds a chance to see seven hundred or so Interesting Things, and since I am now on their mailing list, next time will be a little more organised. Obviously prior to that, visitings in Victoria and Waterloo had recommenced and to all those who visited during the week (and especially the extremely patient souls who put up with the communication breakdown – thanks for that, O2) didn’t we all have a fab time!

More very soon, since I’ve rambled enough for one page and the photos are the best bit anyway. No availability left this week in Scarborough bar Friday, and Carlisle beckons from Sunday evening – details will be following very shortly and the pre-Christmas awaydays itinerary is very nearly complete.

Back to my other much-loved listed building, that is to say, the one I live in. Although I’m wondering how much they’ll want for those flats?IMG01444-20130921-1440

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