Lorraine Crighton-Smith was given a unique perspective of Battersea Power Station when she stood at the base of the south-west chimney during the dismantling process. All four chimneys are being rebuilt, one by one. Read on to find out how and why…
A small group of local press, including yours truly, and members of the Battersea Power Station Development team were recently taken on an extra special tour of the iconic disused power station. Once we’d been kitted out in the appropriate health and safety gear, engineers for the development led the way as we scaled the building in a cage lift. It wasn’t until I stood so close to the power station that I fully appreciated its size.
Once at the top, we approached the south-west chimney, which at the time was in the final stage of being dismantled. Up close you can see the cracks in the remaining three chimneys, and it was explained to us that the original chimneys were badly corroded by sulphur in the coal smoke from when it was a working power station. As part of plans to make the chimneys safe, each one will be dismantled and rebuilt using replica materials to the original design, but the new chimneys will use a modern pattern of steel reinforcement within the concrete.
The dismantling process has been a painstaking one, and the south-west chimney must be 35% complete before work can start on the next one.
Hydraulic jaws attached to a circular working rig ‘munch’ down the iconic towers from the top. The debris travels down a central funnel and, we’re told, it will be reused elsewhere in the development.
Standing at the base of the south-west chimney and looking up was an incredible experience, and it was fascinating to hear about the dismantling process and plans. We learned that a viewing platform offering panoramic views over London on the north west chimney has been proposed and that two of the new chimneys may emit steam, from a new energy centre, setting a scene that will be reminiscent of the building’s past. All four chimneys are expected to be fully reconstructed by early 2016.
For the latest news and to keep up to date with the Battersea Power Station development visit batterseapowerstation.co.uk