Battersea Power Station has been a symbol of London’s skyline since the mid-1930s. In 2012, under new ownership, the Power Station embarked on the next phase of its life, as the centre point of a new neighbourhood, not just the restoration of this unique building but its surroundings too.
With new homes, offices, restaurants and even a tube station created, the complex and vicinity is a powerhouse of architectural design and engineering innovation.
One of the four iconic chimneys of this ‘Grade II’ listed building incorporates one of London’s latest attractions, which is the unique chimney lift experience called “LIFT 109”; this is the ascent of the north-west chimney in a glass lift which pops-out the top of the structure, giving visitors a spectacular and comprehensive view of London’s skyline.
The journey to the top of the Chimney, is as much part of the experience as the precious time allocated to view the UK’s capital city. As visitors wait to enter ‘LIFT 109’ they congregate within ‘The Gallery’ zone; here story boards and multi-media displays tell the life of this extraordinary building, whilst standing inside the colossal ‘Art Deco Turbine Hall A’.
During the 1970’s and 80’s as the UK’s energy needs shifted to oil, gas and nuclear power, the buildings primary role as an energy generator receded, it became the ideal setting for films, TV shows, music videos and album covers. These included The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ (1973) and Pink Floyd’s ‘Animals’ (1977); in terms of films, ‘Superman III’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The King’s Speech’ made use of the building’s vast urban and industrial spaces, as their voluminous backdrop.
From this holding area, guests enter – The Infinity Room – where the first set of lifts are located and will take you to the foot of the chimney. Here, the guide, with the aid of immersive projection mapping technology, explains to guests the early origins and role of Battersea Power Station.
Then the moment comes to move from one lift to the glass-lift; like being on the set of star-trek with Captain Kirk saying ‘Beam me up Scotty’, the lift ascends with the help of intermittent red LED strip-lights wrapped within the interior of the chimney, before visitors finally reach the summit and are flooded into daylight upon their lofty perch, at exactly 109 meters.
Regeneration on the ground is magnified once you elevate to the observation point at the top of LIFT 109’s chimney and see the sheer scale of the former power station and surrounding area. London is an evolving city and cranes are an ever-present sight across the landscape as new buildings, districts and designs materialise. However, landmark structures remain clearly visible from this unique bird’s eye viewpoint.
As one pivots 360-degrees, guests are visually presented with the capital’s great structures and geography: Big Ben, the Canary Wharf cluster of skyscrapers, the winding meander of the River Thames, MI6 building, the distant Crystal Palace Transmitting Station, the Royal Albert Hall, Wembley’s Arch and in the foreground, the crystalline-cube building of the US Embassy, are just some of the most enthralling sights to absorb and capture on a smartphone for an Instagram-worthy selfie.
After 7-minutes, daylight turns to dark and the lift descends into the chimney once more. A memorable experience comes to an end via the gift shop, with plenty of time to select a souvenir.
How much: An Adult ticket (+16 Years) costs: £15.90
Book Tickets: Lift109
Nearest tube: London Underground Station: Battersea Power Station
Where to eat: Tozi Grand Cafe
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(Image Credit Joshua Atkins & bpsdc.co.uk)