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Report - Battersea Powerstation - Feb 2012

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by Happyshopper, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Happyshopper

    Happyshopper Brian Blessed's Codpiece
    28DL Full Member

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    Visited with Keïteï, OliverGT, 2wid and Gh0sT - and a huage thanks to the first two for acting as tour guides :cool:

    Since I first started all this UE malarkey just over a year ago, this has been my Holy Grail site. Some of you will laugh at that, but it's true. So much so that I got into bed afterwards around 7:30am and had to get up again at 10:30am having not slept a second - I was still buzzing that much.

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    History courtesy of battersea-powerstation.com via the brain of fish.
    Following on from some early evening warm-up derps, we made our way to the waterfront for some rather more epic shenanigans.

    After a bit of squeezing and climbing, struggling in the dark and then blinded by the floodlights, a bit more squeezing, some running, climbing, more climbing, sketchy sketchy ladders and a pigeon, we finally found ourselves in the most impressive, most pristine control room I've ever seen.

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    It's almost impossible to photograph though! With the room lit from windows looking out into the Turbine hall, which secca routinely tour, we couldn't risk light painting.

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    The walls were solid marble panels and under the floor covering was the original wooden herringbone floor. The details were stunning and I really need to try this again in daylight. Not to mention the B side which we didn't manage this time around!

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    Once we decided enough was enough was enough - taking pity on 2wid who had been pacing the room waiting for us for at least half an hour - we aimed for the roof.

    Climbing ladders, pigeon shit, returning for ladders, more pigeon shit, roof!

    Well it was probably worth it in the end. Probably.

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    Christ was it windy though! I was holding my camera strap to make sure it didn't make a leap for it off the scaff, and several images were unusable because the scaff was swaying too much. Excellent.

    We finally came down from the chimneys and took a quick group shot before making our weary way back down through the site to ground level again.

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    Getting out we took a collective sigh of relief at getting through undetected and made our own way home.

    What a night.​
     

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  2. Happyshopper

    Happyshopper Brian Blessed's Codpiece
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    Part II - Security's Revenge

    I knew when I left last time that I'd be back. After all, there was still most of it still to see! So when Helen got a call from an old school friend inviting us to London for the day I sent a few messages out and in the end only hooked up with the very same fella who sorted it out the first time around: Oli. Everyone else was busy or, well, ignored me. Not that I took it personally, but... ;)

    Anyway, so roll on the night. I'd spent the evening showing my cousin some of the high places around the city, then headed to Vauxhall with my feet already ruined to meet Oli. Our target: B Side.

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    Entering the same way as before, we made our way underneath A and through the big central chamber, skirting around the huge exposed industrial foundations and then made our way to the roof on B side. You can see the large wall here that once was mirrored on A side and was demolished along with the roof before work was halted on a previous scheme.

    Heading back down we walked through a huge empty turbine hall, 3 stories in height and with floor to ceiling windows the length of the space, before finding ourselves in the old offices. The offices are now store rooms for decades worth of development plans, artists impressions and various other documents. This was my favorite example of an A2 artist impression, which I believe is of the 80's theme park development approved by Thatcher which left the building without the roof and A side wall. I could be wrong though, none of the documents were dated and few were named or filed.

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    After having a good dig around (because who doesn't love routing through historical paperwork by torch light?) we moved on to the main prize. B Side control room. En route we spotted that not only did a Fox beat Bradley to the top of the Shard, but also beat me into B Side. He stood on the other side of a gate staring at us as we surveyed the route ahead, before vanishing into some other hiding spot as we begun to move.

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    A lot of people do not realise that the power station was in fact built in two halves. A Side was constructed in the 1920s, whereas B Side was considerably later. Construction began in 1945 and the site went fully live in 1955.

    As a result the two sides are quite different, with the B Side control room having the appearance of something retro-futuristic, Dr Who from the 80s. In contrast to the Art Deco extravagance of A Side, B is very utilitarian in stainless steel and black.

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    Fortunately the windows are boarded across their length so we could turn the lights on without fear of being discovered which made photographing them a lot easier! Anything reflective like stainless steel is a bitch to light paint without getting streaky reflections so I was glad for that!

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    After the relatively simple control stations in A the chunky mechanical switched and levers surprised me. After all with 25 years of technological advancement you'd have expected things to become smaller and sleaker, not the other way round...

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    Making our way back through the site we had a bit more of an incentive to have a look around the turbine hall we passed through earlier. I'm kicking myself now for not getting the camera out, but what can you do? It was a marvelous space that I could happily have slept in and waited for sunrise had security not been so keen. As it is, I don't fancy waking up with a face full of high-vis.

    Walking back through the site we spotted the lights on in A. Odd. We waited long enough to make sure they didn't go out again - meaning it was secca on their rounds - and then decided to make the return trip back into A to see it with the lights on. My decision really, Oli wasn't that fussed I think.

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    It turned out to be a blessing and a curse. It wasn't the main lights that were on but a row of floodlights behind the main instrument panel. Not much, but instead of taking 6-8 minute exposures I could take 15-30 second exposures, not to mention actually see through the viewfinder to compose the shots!

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    We packed up to leave and each went alternate directions to check which route would be best.

    Then the lights came on. All of them.

    Oli came creeping rather quickly back to my end of the room. "Did you do that?!" "Ssssshhhhhh - Nooooo!" "Fuck!"

    In the end we they knew we were there and all we could do was walk out from behind the instrument panels and wave to them. Better we don't piss them off making them play hunt the explorer when we're all trapped in the same room.

    On the plus side we did get to see another area of the site not normally seen. The old 1920s wooden elevator is still in tact that leads from ground level up to Control Room A and higher, and we got a good look as we were escorted back down the stairs. Surprisingly no photos from this part of the site, but we'd never have seen it at all otherwise. It was a particularly nice feature of the site, but probably not worth getting caught for.

    In the end the Police were inevitably called, 3 cars and 6 officers to deal with 2 muppets with cameras. But as they pointed out, what else was going to be happening at 5:30am in the morning?​
     
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