Meet Me in Battersea Park

Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Sunday, October 24, 2010

I headed west again to explore the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, mostly Chelsea. Chelsea lies in an affluent part of town in which the streets are lined with stately townhomes and expensive retail outlets.  Today Chelsea is associated with artists and other "influential" people.

Across the River Thames from Chelsea is Battersea Park in the London Borough of Wandsworth.  Battersea Park is a large park which used to house a large fair ground until the 70's when it closed.  Today, the main attractions are sport venues and the Peace Pagoda.  The purpose of the Peace Pagoda, as a Buddhist symbol, is to unite all people to search for world peace.  Battersea Park even had a song written about it by Petula Clark entitled "Meet Me in Battersea Park" released in 1954 describing the Battersea Park in its heyday (listen: Meet Me in Battersea Park).

Past Battersea Park and Chelsea Bridge lies the Battersea Power Station.  The station was built in the 1930’s and decommissioned in 1983, but somehow became one of London’s major landmarks.  Other than its conspicuously large size (the largest brick building in Europe), it has made numerous appearances in pop culture.  It has appeared on a plethora of album covers ranging from The Who, Morrissey, Muse, to Pink Floyd.  Music videos have been filmed there as well.  It has also appeared in just as many movies from Alfred Hitchcock’s Sabotage, Doctor Who, The Beatles film Help!, the film adaptation of 1984, Full Metal Jacket, Children of Men, and The Dark Night, to name a few.

Since the Battersea Power Station has such a prime location in London, in front of the River Thames and in Central London, it makes sense that it has been eyed by many individuals who want to redevelop the site.  To date, all the proposals have failed.  First, an indoor theme park was designed and approved in 1986; however, the cost escalated and nothing happened on the site.  The next plan was to redevelop the area into housing and retail.  That processes began in 1996 with approval granted in 2000.  The deal went south when they wanted to alter the building too much for the English Heritage’s taste.  Currently, in 2008, a 4 billion plan emerged to change the site into an eco-friendly power station with offices and retail.  Rumor has it that the London Underground will also play a large role in the remodelling of the area and extend to provide service to the area.  Completion of this project is scheduled for 2020; however, time will tell if it fails just like the rest.

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