"The great power station and the gasworks beyond"
Battersea Power Station
Public DomainBattersea Power Station - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Battersea Power Station was a coal-fired power station on the south bank of the Thames.

It was built in the 1930s after Parliament decided that electricity should be supplied by a publicly-owned utility with a standard voltage and frequency. Existing companies decided to operate out of a few large power stations rather than many smaller ones.

Battersea Power Station was the first of these. The plans were drawn up in 1927. The Thames would provide cooling water and enable easy delivery of coal by boat. Concerns that it would be an eyesore and cause damaging pollution were addressed by hiring famous architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, designer of the red telephone box, and implementing treatments of emissions to reduce the level of smoke.

Building was completed in 1935 on Station A. Station B was begun after the end of the Second World War.