It’s funny to consider power plants and sewerage plants as beautiful, but these old buildings certainly trump any industrial building built in the last few decades. Relics from the dawn of the industrial age, they were designed with immaculate attention to detail and a timeless aesthetic. Nowadays they either accumulate weeds and cobwebs in obscurity, or they are earmarked for urban revival, with apartments and new precincts popping up all over the place in London and elsewhere in Europe.
Crossness Pumping Station
This unique and stunning sewerage plant from the Victorian era was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette as part of a solution to cholera and typhoid outbreaks that crippled London in the 19th century.
A trust caring for the pumping station received £99,000 to restore one of the plants magnificent engines.
Located in the London Borough of Bexley, the Crossness Pumping Station was lauded as an engineering triumph at the time. It was a vital part of London’s 85 miles of sewers laid all over the city. Containing colourful and intricate painted ironwork, this sewerage plant is something unique to behold.
Battersea Power Station
First commissioned in 1927, the coal-fired Battersea Power Station generated electricity throughout London for almost 50 years. At a whopping 560 feet wide and 338 feet tall, the power station become a iconic part of the London skyline.
For its time, it was the biggest brick building in all of Europe, comparable to 15 London double-decker buses standing end to end. Although the city was beseiged by war in the 30’s and 40’s, the Battersea Power Station escaped unscathed. Production finally stopped at the power plant in 1983 and since then the power plant has been left in disrepair, empty, roofless and grown over.
In 2012, a Malaysian property developer bought the power station and has reignited the public’s imagination with lavish apartments, eateries and a shopping mall all due to open in 2014/2015.
The iconic chimneys were deemed as unsafe in their original form. So they will be painstakingly built from scratch and constructed to look exactly the same, built from steel reinforced concrete. A new sweet pad will set you back between £500,000 to £4.5 million.
Abbey Mills Pumping Station
This sewerage pumping station was built between 1865 and 1868, another of Bazalgette’s designs. Located in E15 it was designed in an intricate Byzantine style with two Moorish inspired chimney stacks. The neon lights here certainly emphasise the eerie and otherworldly nature of the design. Amazing that this sort of design is now considered beautiful, when once it was considered simply utilitarian.
10 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Relics From The Industrial Dawn”
Straight out of the movies! I remember reading that the Who recorded some of their best albums right in Battersea, beside the power station
Yes, when all lit up like this it looks like a space ship or some surreal art. I had no idea that The Who recorded there, interesting fact!
It’s wasn’t exactly in the power station but it was in battersea in an old church just around the corner
Oh right cool
…but the power managed to get on to some of those albums all the same!!!
A strange beauty indeed, not a million miles away from the colors in Suspiria (1977). I’m also reminded by what David Lynch said about the beauty of smoke and old factories. I tend to agree with him even if I hate pollution 🙂
Yes to the colours of Suspiria, but the photos of the Abbey Mills pumping station also made me think of Dr Who and the daleks!
Thanks Terry I actually had to look up Suspiria because I hadn’t heard of it, but now I see what you mean with all of the bright reds. I love that it brought this to mind for you, it has a beautiful retro feel