World-famous chimneys of Battersea Power Station are fully restored

The world-famous chimneys of Battersea Power Station once again dominate the skyline nearly three years after demolition of the “perished” originals began.

The Standard poured one of the very last of 25,000 wheelbarrows of concrete that have gone into restoring the 51-metre-high structures.

Since the process began in May 2015 some 680 tonnes of concrete have been lifted in a hoist to the tops of the chimneys, where up to eight men work exposed to wind and rain. Last to be finished was the north-west tower.

Battersea’s chief construction officer Mike Grice said builders replicated the original labour-intensive method of erecting the chimneys, both for authenticity and because it was more efficient and precise than pumping concrete up from ground level in a hose.


The Battersea Power Station chimneys have been fully restored (Daniel Hambury)

The originals, two built in the Thirties and two in the Fifties, were removed because they were so badly corroded after decades of exposure to the sulphur in the smoke from the generator’s huge boilers.

Critics of the £9 billion regeneration of the power station and surrounding 42-acre site had claimed the chimneys would not return once they had been knocked down.

But the Malaysian-owned consortium behind the scheme decided that the celebrated outline of the Grade II* listed structure meant rebuilding them was essential.


Evening Standard writer Jonathan Prynn pours concrete into the last of the chimneys (Daniel Hambury)

Repainting them in their original colour — Light Ivory, RAL 1015 — began last month and is expected to be completed over the summer. Each chimney requires 375 litres of paint.

Rob Tincknell, chief executive of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “The chimneys have been the backdrop for films, music videos and album covers.

Battersea Power Station – In pictures

“On behalf of our shareholders, I would like to say it has been an honour to restore this iconic symbol to the London skyline so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia, said: “These giant chimneys are recognised the world over.

“The site’s owners have understood their significance from day one and have gone to great lengths to restore them to their former glory. And delivered on their promises.”

The north-east and south-west chimneys will still be used, as part of the new energy centre that will power the development with water vapour released from their flues.

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