Nine Elms/Battersea is one of the largest redevelopments in the whole of London. It involves demolishing and rebuilding the famous four Battersea Power Station chimneys as well as major development of the Power Station itself, and a new extension of the Northern Line tube from Kennington to Battersea.
This is the second time it has been attempted – the last being when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. Because of the collapse of that venture, I have frequently been doubtful about the outcome this time around – but now that they are about to start the fourth and final Power Station chimney rebuild, the two tunnel boring machines for the tube extension are ready underground to start work later this month, and with the vast amount of other new construction going up, I do think this time it will all get finished.
The area is mostly north of the railway line going in to Waterloo, from nearly at Queens Road Battersea all the way to Vauxhall Station – but with also a very great deal of redevelopment on the south side of the rail line – especially at the Vauxhall Station end.
When you go past in the train you can see new towers going up like mushrooms in a field in a morning. Apart from the already occupied St George’s Wharf Tower, the three highest skyscrapers have yet to show above ground. There are two for the Chinese Wanda Corporation, next to the St George’s Wharf Tower and one south of the railway called the Versace Tower. The Chinese build ones are on their third construction contractor – now the giant Canadian Multiplex organisation. The developers could not seem to agree final contracts with the previous two builders and progress was very slow indeed. It does not bode well for Chinese involvement in a new nuclear power station at Dungeness, though progress does now seem to be speeding up somewhat – so maybe it is now all sorted out.
In addition to the Power Station, the other major iconic development is that of a new US Embassy (their place in Grosvenor Square will become an hotel) and the towers built around it are called Embassy Gardens – and their marketing boards talk about a “New diplomatic area” – but I only see the one embassy going up – namely that for the USA.
Taking photos around the area is hard work: the roads are murder for pedestrians and each construction site entrance represent a danger of being flattened under a truck. Obviously the construction sites will come to an end – but let us hope that the road system is made a bit more user and pedestrian friendly than it currently is, or the only way you will be able to get to your new swanky tower will be in a car or a cab.
My third photograph is of the 750 tonne crane that lifted the two tunnel boring machines down the shaft into the ground to start digging out the tube extension.
I quite like some of my snaps of the new Embassy – it is at least less monotonous than some of the towers.
I have now got my right eye all sorted for cataracts by the excellent nurses and quacks of the world famous Moorefields Eye Hospital. In another week the other one will get done.
At the moment with one done and one awaiting treatment, it’s a bit like walking around with one shoe off and one shoe on, so I’ll end with a nice silly rhyme:
Diddle Dumpling my son John,
Went to bed with his trousers on,
One shoe off and the other shoe on,
Diddle Diddle Dumpling my son John.