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Its passed everyday by hundreds of commuters, its seen in movies, on albums, and is a great symbol of the city of London. But how many sneak in unnoticed, avoid the security patrols, navigate 3 rows of fence and manage to climb all 4 chimneys? Or what about the 2 intact art deco control rooms? Like with all of the best sites in the UK, it warrants many visits. This said, nothing ever quite matches the nerves and adrenalin experienced from the first visit, the looming chimneys before you in the night sky walking from Victoria station.

While architects have squabbled and planning applications failed, Battersea power station has remained in solid ground; a defiant urban monolith thats been chopped up, rained on, snowed on and baked in the sun sinced the 1930’s. It was the second “proper” explore for me (after Spillers mills the same day), and what a way to start! Joining and meeting my now good friends Danny and Alex, we headed for the station at midnight on an August night in 2009. Extremely anxious with the rain beating down, over the fence we popped one after the other. After a gutsy sprint for it, we were in. Since then i have visited a handful of times, and i still plan to see the great place again in the future.

The view from the courtyard. This is currently holding a VIP marquee which spoils the wasteland that was once an internal turbine hall. Hopefully its only temporary…

On B-Side roof, perhaps the best view of the great place…

The control rooms in Battersea are arguably the best bits, and quite interestingly always remain lit. Nobody is really sure why, no tours are open or given at night, and as far as the security are aware, not accessible (cheeky wink). Either way, its very kind of them as it means the urban explorers of this world can take pictures with ease (another cheeky wink?). Control room B…

Control room A is the older and more grand of the 2. This was technically the only control room, as B was the switch room…

Over the course of my visits so far, my cohorts and I have conquered all 4 chimneys. Scaffolding has remained from the roofs of the building on all 4 corners up to the base of each chimneys. The southern chimney on the A side roof has an extra bit of scaff which allows you to go 1/4 of the way up the chimney. Here you can appreciate the age, but also the structural masterpiece that these chimneys are. Its cracked yellowish concrete now, but the stuff was layered all the way up during construction. The chimneys offer a feeling of not only being on top of the city, but one of power and excitement as you can peek down at the oblivious security gaurds doing their hourly rounds (we got pretty good at  monitoring these) A view from one of the B side chimney…

Perhaps the greatest of explores in the UK, Battersea will always be a memorable one; action filled and offering some truly unique sights. I’ll be back!

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