The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Battersea’s famous Chimneys threatened

Parkview International Ltd, the company that owns the derelict Battersea Power Station, has applied for Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission to demolish and rebuild in replica all four chimneys of the Grade II listed building. Parkview claim in their application that the chimneys are suffering from severe concrete delamination and corrosion and cannot be repaired. The Twentieth Century Society and World Monuments Fund in Britain (WMF) dispute their findings and are currently in negotiation with Parkview and their team of experts. In our view wholesale demolition has not been justified by the investigations completed to date.

This view results from a specially commissioned critique of Parkview’s engineers’ report prepared for the Twentieth Century Society, the WMF and the Battersea Power Station Company Ltd. This study concludes that much of the cracking in the chimneys which is now causing concern occurred during the original construction process and has not significantly worsened in up to seventy five years. It also questions Parkview’s conclusion that cathodic protection, a non destructive repair technique, cannot be successfully applied. A further inadequacy in Parkview’s case is that their team have not had access to the inside of the chimneys in order to investigate the structures.

The Society also considers the brief set by Parkview unreasonable. It requires any solution to be guaranteed to last for at least 60 years without needing scaffolding to be erected for repairs.

If the chimneys were demolished a major proportion of the historic fabric would be lost and could never be replaced, and Battersea would lose value as a historic building. A decision about demolition should hence not be taken lightly.

The Society and WMF hope that further investigation and analysis will result in successful negotiations with Parkview and agreement on a scheme of repair.

Notes for editors:

  1. Battersea Power Station was built to designs by Giles Gilbert Scott and in two phases. Station A, the west half of the building, went up in 1929-30, Station B to the east was constructed 1937-mid 1940s. The building was listed at Grade II in 1981 as part of the first group of C20 buildings to be added to the list, following the contentious demolition of the Firestone Factory on the Great West Road.
  2. The report commissioned by The Twentieth Century Society, the World Monuments Fund and Battersea Power Station Company Ltd was prepared by the following engineers and concrete specialists: Stuart Tappin BSC CEng MIStructE MA, of Cameron Taylor; Alan Conisbee BA BAI CEng MIStructE, of Alan Conisbee and Associates; Gary Johns of Alan Conisbee and Associates; George Ballard MA MSc, of GBG and Roel van Es BSc MCS MICorr, of Martech.
  3. World Monuments Fund is the foremost non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving imperilled works of art and architecture worldwide and in 2004 placed Battersea Power Station on its Watch List of the world’s 100 Most Endangered Sites.

For further information please contact:

Catherine Croft, Director, The Twentieth Century Society, tel 020 7250 3857, 07808 168 489
or Cordula Zeidler, Caseworker, The Twentieth Century Society, tel 020 7250 3857

William Black, World Monuments Fund, tel 020 7730 5344

Keith Garner, Battersea Power Station Company Ltd, tel 020 7585 0421
Brian Barnes, Battersea Power Station Company Ltd, tel 020 7627 5821