The decline of Battersea Power Station

After numerous failed redevelopment attempts from various owners, Battersea Power Station is now on the ‘buildings at risk’ register. Photographer Peter Dazeley set out to document the legendary building as part of a personal project

After numerous failed redevelopment attempts from various owners, Battersea Power Station is now on the ‘buildings at risk’ register. Photographer Peter Dazeley set out to document the legendary building as part of a personal project…

“It seems so sad that such a magnificent building has ended up in its present state,” says Dazeley, “and this series of photographs give a taste of its former splendour.” While photographing the site, Dazeley also realised that it has now become a sanctuary for all sorts of wildlife: pigeons, foxes, and peregrine falcons have all set up home there.

The series started out as a personal project recording the building’s decline but the results – which can be seen on his website – are also set to feature in this week’s Mail on Sunday Live magazine.

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  • Jitesh Patel

    Battersea Power station is a amazing London Icon, and I do wish it is saved and preserved. amazing photos above love all of those old dials

  • ciaran_oliver

    It really annoys me, that is such a great site and the plans people have for a bunch of shops and flats is just sad, massive fail for the mayors office. Nobs and dials, real nobs.

  • carla

    its like science fiction, love it

  • andrewhf

    I love the pictures. Fascinating. Do you have a skeleton key? I didn’t think one could wander into Battersea Power Station…

  • Carole

    Turn it into a hotel!

  • Costas

    You just have to look at Tate Modern to see how amazing these types of buildings can be when redeveloped in the right way. Let’s hope it does end up housing something as iconic as the building itself… Fantastic photographs, it looks like something out of an old science fiction film!

  • steveo

    Check the page name – it’s Dazeley, not Bazeley 😉

    Gorgeous photos. Why not get it all whirring and blinking away again and open it as a museum?

  • Lara Compton

    I wish it could be turned into an International Creative Arts zone… stonking building!

  • Ellie

    The Power Station is another example of an iconic London landmark that should have to be preserved. Too many of these architectural and historic buildings are being lost to the developers. Fantastic pictures of an incredible place.

  • Rik Moran

    Echo what Costas said, it’s ripe for preserving. Surely it’s a prime candidate for lottery funding? Obviously, it’s going to be a massive outlay whatever happens to it, but such an iconic building needs saving.

    How about preserving the outer structure, walls and tower and leaving it as a huge public space?

  • Jem

    I a rumour the American Embassy has bought it and all the land around ie cafes, bars etc will set up around the area, keep your ears peeled it maybe true

  • HMM

    I’d like to see it developed into something similar to what they did to the Custard Factory in Birmingham. Affordable studios for artists and creative businesses, and have a huge performance space available for large events.

    I wonder what will happen to all those wonderful machines and dials… Be awesome to see them reworked into the building again somehow, so that it preserves some of the feeling of what it once was.

  • Alex

    “its like science fiction, love it”

    It’s like 70s Science Fiction. Or, actually, it looks like somewhere that blows up at the end of a James Bond movie.

  • Jem

    I a rumour the American Embassy has bought it and all the land around ie cafes, bars etc will set up around the area, keep your ears peeled it maybe true

  • Rich P

    Dharma Initiative?

  • Graphic Design Manchester

    Its a scary looking place, gives me the willys!

  • A

    If they let this building go it will be a travesty. One of my fave London icons- absolutely stunning. Someone sort it out. Why are we so lax about our architectural masterpieces and just building horrible skyscrapers and crossrail stations everywhere.

  • Justin Green

    Wow, what an amazing place. I love the interior shots.
    Justin Green

  • Dave Young
  • Elle

    ‘Dharma Initiative?’ YES! You’re absolutely right – it’s that 60s/70s throwback to all things sci-fi.

    Kind of creepy but I live right by it and it’s a beautiful building that just needs a stable investor. It could make someone a fortune in the right hands. If I had tens of millions spare, I’d buy it!

    It’s a mostly residential area so, although I agree affordable apartments / office space would work, it kind of seems a waste of a stunning building not to open it to the public. Something like an arts centre – theatre, cinema, art galleries, maybe a museum of London history etc. would be amazing. Plus they should leave space outside the main building for open-air concerts etc. Something like that would go down well as it’s close enough to London but also easy to get to if you live outside of the city.

  • Dr Black

    Wonder what the ‘direct coupled exciter’ did.

  • Ryan

    Who’s job was it to be ‘standby exciter’?

  • David Marsh

    Sort it Norris you bob!

  • Christina Flowers

    Such a truly magnificent building and huge landmark in London. It has to be saved. Well done taking the pics, by the way as am sure they will help in saving this gem of a building.

  • martin warnes

    Flip it over & use it as a table

  • Steve

    My Grandfather used to work as a maintenance engineer in Battersea station, feels strange looking at those pictures and imagining him walking past those banks of machinery back when it was still working.

  • Corporate photographer London

    what a landmark – must not be allowed to go any further into decay- it would make a great hotel- but not a business park- maybe a art gallery like the other power station!

  • Simon Connellan

    Lovely pics, just sorting the Images to go into Silvershotz Folios for 2010, stood out a mile when organising images.

  • Jamie

    I think my favourite pic is the one with the panel for the “Standby Exciter” I wish I had a standby exciter.

  • Watts

    Fabulous building but I m not sure the photographs do it much justice. I’d have a look at the ones on the photographer’s website but it seems to be Flash based and I can’t view it.

  • Ben

    why the fuck is it going in the fail on sunday?

    Great pics though. Wish I’d thought of it.

  • Paul Lewis

    The most appalling lack of imagination, crass commercial greed and incompetence has allowed this beautiful building to rot. It is now a tragic though still magnificent ruin.

    Make it safe, employ the parts that can be salvaged for cultural uses and let the grass grow through the rest. Keep it as a public space and part of Battersea park.

    No more shopping centres!

  • Mickrock

    I love the Battersea Power Station. Loved it in Nannie McPhee Returns (spot the piggie), Children of Men (spot the piggie), Animals (ahem…) and in reality. Sans piggies.

    Check out this shot:
    I did a series of shots one evening in 2008. Beautiful light.

    Restore it. As an art, architecture and design gallery.

  • flyingpiggie

    A new NFT?

  • andybev1

    Are you mad, what an eysore – just what it stands for is enough to pull it down for me (and at what cost)? Sorry, you are well of the mark with this.

  • Justin

    A flower shop?

  • Mina

    Couldn’t agree more with Costa’s response..

    “You just have to look at Tate Modern to see how amazing these types of buildings can be when redeveloped in the right way. Let’s hope it does end up housing something as iconic as the building itself…!”
    2010-09-27 14:13:50

  • Kathryn McCann

    I love the retro machinery too. Definitely Dharma Project! All that has to stay, surely…

    It would be fantastic to see it as a public arts venue/time capsule. There’s something very similar (although on a slightly smaller scale) in Porto Alegre in Brazil. Usina do Gasometro (Gasometer Factory) is a cultural centre established in a disused power station. It provides rehearsal and performance space for dance and drama groups as well as arts workshops and galleries.

    The idea was conceived by the local government and it’s now run in partnership with businesses and arts organisations.

    Here’s a photo: And you can read more about it (in Portuguese) here:

  • claire

    Love that it had a ‘Standby Exciter’ button.

  • Pat

    just turn it into some kind of club or a giant swimming pool. two things london could deffo use. its not rocket science.

  • da bishop

    It should become a university & webcafé with a large live-in residential component and a park-farm in the middle.

  • Nicoline

    Please give it to me, and I’ll turn it into the coolest rock venue, doing absolutely minimum to the structure and architecture and maintaining the icon as it is! Imagine the kind of gigs you could do here!

  • A

    just turn it into some kind of club or a giant swimming pool. two things london could deffo use. its not rocket science.


    Berghain for London


  • John Amy

    I used to live across the park from it and had it on the skyline from my wiindow. Always serene… and Concorde would fly over it. I took some photos of the place about 30 years ago and it was in a similar state. I rememeber walking around the back and there was a gypsy encampment.

  • jim watters

    Hi Peter,
    love the pictures I am a photographer myself… wish I’d taken them!!

  • jim watters

    Hi Peter,
    On the interiors is that just available light, or did you bring in some extra to use as a boost?
    jim watters

  • david janes

    I walked around battersea powerstation with my son…. took pictures and animated it…. i love it…

  • Dazeley

    Hi Jim,
    Lighting was used in pictures 1,2 & 5 to enhance the exsisting light which was pretty poor. Hope that helps.
    Very best wishes,


  • Heather

    Of course it’s about 4 times bigger than the Tate Modern site, I have loved almost next to this building for about half my life now and have watched it’s decay usually hastened by the various groups that have owned it over the years, once was involved as a local artist whe Parkview (are they stil the developers?) had it in a project to try to re-kindle interest in the local population in the develpment of the site did some art work with kids in the local library but that was about six years ago now still have some good photos from the visits I did to the site then though. My favorite Idea was from about ten years ago when it was rumered that it was to become the london eden project, Just imagine the entire building turned into a rain forest, Wow!

    Wish someone would take it on properly though but that seem incresingly unlikely in the present climate.

  • Caz

    Anyone remember Hawkwind’s Quark, Strangeness and Charm album? Now I know where the cover image was taken!

  • rommel perez

    Great venue for a sci fi movie!

  • Andre

    London lacks decent sport centres. Problem solved.

  • Rob

    Turn it into a power station.

  • Ian Probert

    It could still be used as a power station to burn waste destined for landfill,or fit four wind turbines on top of the stacks ( chimneys).
    Ian Probert

  • Dave Kenny

    I’m not sure what to do with it but I am damned if it should rot. I’m not even from London, not even from the UK but this is one of the most iconic (ugh, apologies, hate the word) buildings in the world. Save it. Do something!

  • antonio

    I departed London in 1974 when I was 12 but I remember back to the times I would travel into central London by train with my mother and of all the magniicent and imposing buildings and landmarks I could of choosen to remark on it was Battersea power station which I always pointed out to mum……she always said if we had stayed in the uk she wouldnt of been supprised if i ended up working there. I also bought the Pink Floyd album “Animals” purely because it ha Battersea power station on the cover. Is London so awash with Art studio’s and Film making venues that this magnificent building couldnt be turned into a massive arts hub in central London???…..I bet not….So????????. The uk’s Industrial heritage is just as important as ABC’s ie Another bloody Castle or Cathedral.

  • Patrick

    How affluent London has become; that redeveloping a site such as this is regarded as feasible and worth the investment. When I was a student in London 20 years ago, this was just another derelict building, and it seemed unlikely that it could ever be redeveloped. When I return to London periodically, i am amazed at the transformation of the city. Thank goodness the dreary Britain of the 70s and 80s has largely vanished.

  • Paul Treacy

    Could it be turned into some kind of 21st century playground for all ages? A massive soft play climbing frame area for grownups inside that large open room, several stories high would be fantastic.

    The roof could be covered in solar panels and wind turbines to generate it’s own power with any left over supplying the London grid.

    It’s a stunning facility for a city to have. A true gift to us Londoners. If only we could figure something out.

    Paul Treacy.

  • patrick mc laughlin

    Hello everybody,My name is paddy,I am from ireland. Getting to the point,i worked in battersea power station for two years,it was a privilege to be able to grace the building and be there every is now over twenty years since i have worked there,It is a building that i will never forget,A genuine masterpiece.You will go a long way to see anything like this building.Everything about it is just amazing.It has to be supported now and be there for the world to see.Who ever has the say now wants to get it sorted.

  • Corporate Photographer

    WOW, what a amazing place, so lucky to be able to get in there to take these shots. I went there a while back for some performance art and thought id love to come back with my camera.

  • Lansdowne Club

    Oh my gosh, what a terrific place. I’m glad they are keeping this building and not going to pull it down.

  • GADget

    Beautiful icon, immortal.

  • paddy mc laughlin

    its one of a kind,i myself stepped every inch of this building.a masterpiece,worked there with mc gees in the late has to be preserved at any cost,the people of london should be happy to be able to look at this amazing sleeping monster every time they pass it.i dont think i will ever see a building like it again in my those chimneys.

  • Ag Web Design

    Wow, it’s like being transported back in time