The rise, fall and transformation of Bankside power station, 1890-2010
by Stephen Murray
- The old Bankside power station, 1891-1945
- Planning conflict: electricity and amenity
- Crisis and approval
- Cathedral of power
- Air pollution
- Fuel: coal versus oil
- District heating
- Decline and renaissance of urban power
- Transformation: Bankside to Tate Modern
Power stations for the generation of electricity have been a feature of the urban landscape since the late nineteenth century. The decision to develop Bankside, the last power station to be built in central London, involved an interplay of social, political, economic, technological and environmental factors. The planning process was characterised by a tension between the conflicting needs of electrical power and amenity, but approval for the power station was ultimately crisis-driven as a result of the national fuel supply problems of 1947. Consent for Bankside was subject to conditions to minimise the physical and environmental impact on its surroundings which resulted in some innovative designs. Yet these were not entirely successful throughout its operational life. Economic and environmental issues led to the eventual closure of Bankside in 1981 and, more generally, the relocation of power stations outside urban areas. The reuse of an industrial building exemplified by the transformation of Bankside power station to the Tate Modern gallery can be seen in the context of urban regeneration and the rise of leisure and tourism.
The old Bankside power station, 1891-1945
Early power stations were constructed in urban locations close to the users they served. In Britain, prior to the nationalisation of the industry in 1948, electricity was generated and supplied by private and municipal undertakings to local consumers. In London many small electricity generating stations had been built from the late 1880s to provide electricity for public buildings, street lighting and for electric trams and underground railways. Problems with smoke, soot, noise, vibration, and the delivery and removal of large amounts of coal and ash gave rise to frequent complaints. The City of London, the financial centre of the capital, was supplied with electricity by The City of London Electric Lighting Company Limited which had since 1891 operated a power station at Bankside in the borough of Southwark. A vivid description of the area in 1899 is given by Charles Booth in his inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London:
'there is in this round a set of courts and small streets which for number, viciousness, poverty and crowding is unrivalled in anything I have hitherto seen in London … the inhabitants are … the dregs of the population'. 1
The river was the key to the location of industry on Bankside, as it provided the means of transporting materials and goods. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century Bankside was an area of wharfs, engineering works, an iron foundry and a gas works. Coal had been supplied by barge to the Bankside gasworks which had operated since 1815. The original Bankside power station was similarly supplied, with coal and waste ash from the boilers handled at a dedicated wharf. Electricity was generated by burning coal in boilers to heat water and make steam. The steam provided the motive power for engines or turbines to drive alternators to generate electricity. The river also provided the large quantities of cooling water required by the power station.
The original power station at Bankside was an industrial building. Two shed-like structures housed the eighteen boilers, each with its associated chimney, and a third building to the west housed the generators and electrical switchgear. 2 Immediately to the east there was an associated coal storage site. The 1891 power station had been extended and its equipment renewed on several occasions, the last major upgrade being in 1921-28 when the station was brought up to a maximum output of 85 MW(megawatts). 3 The power station had an adverse physical, as well as visual, impact on its surroundings. Noise and dirt were associated with the handling of coal and ash, and the power station contributed significantly to local air pollution. Southwark Borough Council had received numerous complaints about smoke and grit from the station. 4 They estimated that during the month of September 1950 alone the station discharged 235 tons of grit per square mile over the borough. A report by consultants in 1952 cast some doubt upon these figures, but did conclude that the 1920s boilers were of a poor design and were not to modern standards, consuming nearly twice as much coal per unit of electricity generated as newer boilers. The boilers were therefore both inefficient and polluting. The consultants concluded that grit eliminators could be fitted (at a cost of about £10,000 per boiler). However, since the construction of a replacement power station at Bankside was already under way, these measures were uneconomic for a station due to close within a few years and therefore nothing was done. 5
Bankside and its surroundings, January 1947: the old Bankside power station on the left and war damaged property in the foreground, St Paul’s cathedral just visible through the mist (© Crown Copyright, The National Archives, HLG 79/918)
Planning conflict: electricity and amenity
Towards the end of the Second World War plans were drawn up for the peacetime renewal of Britain. The proposal for the redevelopment of Bankside power station was an example of a conflict between two of these plans. On the one hand, there was an anticipated growth in demand for electricity from commerce and industry, and from domestic users once the austerity measures of wartime were ended, 6 and on the other hand it was considered that the amenity value of central London needed to be greatly enhanced. In 1944 the Central Electricity Board (CEB) estimated that between 1944-45 and 1950-51 electricity usage in the London area would increase by 67 per cent 7 for which six new generating stations would have to be built. In July 1944 the CEB therefore directed the City of London Electric Lighting Company to extend and rebuild their generating station at Bankside. The company developed plans for a replacement coal-fired power station on the site and submitted these to the planning authority, the London County Council (LCC), in February 1945. 8
Meanwhile, the government and the LCC were planning the post-war renewal and improvement of London. Of particular importance for Bankside was the County of London Plan 1943. 9 This envisaged a dramatic transformation of the South Bank. In the words of the plan:
'It is one of the great anomalies of the capital that while the river, from Westminster eastwards, is lined on the north side with magnificent buildings and possesses a spacious and attractive embankment road, the corresponding South Bank, excepting St Thomas' Hospital and County Hall, should present a depressing, semi-derelict appearance'.
The area was to be redeveloped with new bridges, railways placed underground, business premises, blocks of flats, institutions and a cultural centre with theatre and concert hall (eventually built as the Royal Festival Hall). The plan specifically excluded factories and industrial premises. 10 The LCC objected that the proposed new power station would not conform to the County of London Plan and therefore referred the proposal to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning in September 1945. The ministry appears to have equivocated, stating that:
'theoretically we should like to see power stations outside central urban areas unless they can be carefully located in industrial areas' [my italics]. 11
Consultations throughout 1946 between the electricity industry, local government, and government ministries culminated in a public inquiry held between 14-18 January 1947. The LCC reiterated their concerns about the interference with the zoning proposals and Southwark Borough Council was strongly opposed because of the dirt, grit and smoke. The Corporation of London also objected to the problems of smoke and other emissions and to the huge building bulk directly opposite St Paul's cathedral. The counter-arguments in favour of the power station were that it adjoined the river, essential for supplies of waterborne coal and for cooling water; that it was in an area with a rapidly growing electricity demand; that there was an existing power station on the site; that the existing electricity distribution system radiated from the site; and that development would avoid reconstruction of power stations such as Shoreditch, Islington, St Pancras and Marylebone. In his report the inquiry chairman noted that 'the south bank... is notoriously ugly and even a large new industrial building could not seriously affect it', but sought a compromise between the need for power and the interests of amenity by rejecting the application for the new station and proposed a rapid expansion of capacity of the existing station in a temporary building with 15-20 year life. 12
The problem could have been resolved by locating the power station away from the south bank or outside London. The established German solution, of building power stations close to coalfields, had been proposed in 1927 when Battersea 'A' power station was being planned by the London Power Company. 13 A power station in the east Kent coalfield was considered at that time but the cost of electricity transmission and the adverse impact of lines of cables decided against this option and Battersea was built as planned. Another possible location for the new Bankside power station in 1947 was close to Rotherhithe docks. 14 The Rotherhithe option was cheaper but was expected to take eighteen months longer to complete than Bankside. It would also entail additional electricity transmission costs and technical problems were foreseen in carrying cables across the swing bridges at the dock entrances. 15 The delay was the deciding argument and the Rotherhithe alternative was dropped. The urgent need for power, and technological constraints, therefore limited the location of the new power station to a site in central London.
Crisis and approval
The weather and an associated political crisis now influenced the planning process. From mid-January 1947 the country was affected by snow and bitterly cold weather that paralysed transport. This compounded an existing shortage of coal for industrial and domestic use, caused in part by the poor recovery of the coal industry following the war. As consumers switched to electric heating instead of the unavailable coal, demand for electricity exceeded supply and power cuts were the inevitable result. 16 The power crisis was embarrassing for the government and prompted the prime minister, Clement Attlee, to ask 'should not the new Bankside station be designed for oil fuel?' 17 thus providing electricity independent of coal supplies. The proposal for the new Bankside power station came before the Cabinet on 1 April 1947, and the development was sanctioned on the understanding that electricity would be generated by oil and that the building would be set back from the river to avoid interference with plans for redeveloping the river front. 18
The decision to proceed with Bankside was announced in the House of Commons on 22 April 1947 and for the next month debate — much of it hostile to the plans — appeared in the national and the local press. The main objections were to the adverse visual impact of the new power station on St Paul's cathedral and the continuation of industry on the South Bank. The protests were to no avail as on 22 May 1947 the cabinet reaffirmed their decision and the following day the Electricity Commissioners gave their formal consent. The way was now clear for the construction of the new power station. Planning consent for a significant and controversial addition to the fabric of central London was therefore a compromise between economic needs and amenity, driven by a political crisis. In 1947 the Ministry of Fuel and Power, in an internal minute, denied that the decision had 'been taken only as a result of the fuel crisis of early 1947', 19 but although approval may not have been made only as a result of the fuel crisis it appears to have been a significant factor.
Cathedral of power
In appearance the new Bankside was a typical 'cathedral of power', a type of power station that had been developed since the 1920s and was symbolic of the 'prestige and modernity of electricity'. 20 The fabric of the new power station was always intended to be of brick which was London's staple building material. 21 The public inquiry had identified that there would be some difficulty in obtaining the quantity of bricks required — over 4.2 million in the finished building — particularly in the context of post-war reconstruction. The inquiry had therefore recommended a temporary structure made from 'heavy structural steel and 'cladding' of various kinds [which] would be more easily obtainable'. 22 However the power station was built as intended, as a steel frame building with a brick 'skin' and a reinforced concrete roof. Considerable attention was given to the appearance of the building. As originally conceived in 1945 it had a tall chimney at each end, but following public concern about the dwarfing of St Paul's the architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was employed to improve the appearance of the power station. He indicated that there would be 'no question of competing with St Paul's', and persuaded the engineers to gather the boiler flues into a single central chimney or as he expressed it something 'more in the nature of a slender tower or campanile'. 23 At 99m (325ft) the chimney was just lower than the dome of St Paul's cathedral, although this relatively low height would lead to pollution problems. However, whether Bankside was 'Scott's finest statement about an architecture of power' 24 or 'more a municipal building than a cathedral of power' 25 is a matter of personal opinion.
To enable electricity supplies from the original Bankside to continue the new power station was developed in two stages. The western half and the chimney were built in 1947-53 on the site of the now demolished Bankside gas works. In 1958 plans were submitted to the Minister of Power for the extension of the station to complete the eastern part. Since the plans proposed the elimination of the old station, 'a source of air pollution which has given rise to objection in the past', ministerial consent was given without protest. 26 The old power station was decommissioned and demolished in 1959 and the eastern end built in 1959-63, bringing the total capacity of the new station to 300 MW. 27
There had been considerable controversy about air pollution when Battersea power station was designed in the late 1920s. Three miles upriver from Bankside and, like its sister station, situated in an industrial borough south of the Thames opposite a wealthy area to the north, Battersea originally had no provision for mitigating the effects of smoke and fumes. It appears to have been assumed that advantages of electricity outweighed the effects of pollution. 28 The boroughs of Chelsea and Westminster, together with learned societies, were vociferous in their opposition to Battersea. Concerns were expressed about the detrimental effects of smoke on vegetation in parks and squares, on historic buildings and art works. 29 Even the King wrote to the prime minister expressing his concern about the effects of smoke on the health of the residents, of whom he of course was one. 30 As a result a flue gas washing plant, the first in the world, had been installed at Battersea 'A' power station in 1933. The designers of Bankside were mindful of pollution. Indeed, the consent for Bankside was subject to the condition that:
'the company shall use continuously the most efficient methods which for the time being are reasonably practicable for,
i) the elimination of smoke and sooty emissions,
ii) the prevention of the discharge of sulphur and its compounds into the atmosphere,
iii) the avoidance of noise and vibration'. 31
At Bankside the argument that the new power station would emit 'a smokeless shimmer of vapour' appears to have been convincing. 32
Sulphur dioxide, a constituent of the flue-gases, has a detrimental effect on health, vegetation and the stonework of buildings. At Bankside power station sulphur dioxide was removed by washing the flue-gases from the boilers with river water: although this was operationally very successful it did create local problems. Because the flue-gases were cooler after contact with the river water they were less buoyant. They emerged from the relatively short chimney and sank to ground level, causing considerable nuisance. 33 The phenomenon had been observed at Battersea and a meeting on 16 June 1947 considered how this could be overcome at Bankside, 34 but all solutions proposed, though technically feasible, were rejected as being uneconomic. The gas washing plant at Bankside was not ready for the proposed commissioning of the power station in January 1953. The timing was unfortunate. Between 4-10 December 1952 the great London smog caused about 4,000 additional deaths in the capital. 35 In these circumstances objections were again raised about the commissioning of Bankside without the gas-washing plant, 36 but political expediency, and perhaps memories of the fuel crisis of winter 1947, meant that power generation was the imperative and the station started generation without the gas-washing plant.
Local air pollution occurred regularly throughout the operational life of Bankside, the Alkali and Clean Air Inspectorate noting in 1975 that solutions to alleviate the problem would be 'a major exercise ... and the financial climate is not yet right'. 37 The flue-gas washing plant at Bankside also had an adverse impact on the Thames. The waste water was highly acidic, although this was diluted with the power station's cooling water before discharge to the river. 38 In the period when the power station was designed the Thames was heavily polluted so the effluent from Bankside was insignificant. By 1981, with the decline of riverside industry, this effluent 'was retarding the remarkable rate of improvement of the River Thames'. 39 Therefore, although technology to mitigate the effects of air pollution had been included in the design, the inherent limitations of this technology, economic constraints and environmental factors meant that the expected benefits were never fully realised.
Fuel: coal versus oil
The fuel used at Bankside had a major impact on the building and its surroundings. The original plans for the 1945 coal-fired power station envisaged the use of underground coal bunkering. Coal would be delivered to a jetty in the river and then transferred to the power station through an underground tunnel, thereby avoiding the noise of an unsightly overhead conveyor. The design also included equipment fitted to the boilers to remove grit and fine particles from the flue gases. 40 The decision to use oil rather than coal had a direct influence on the form of the building: because oil-firing eliminates the problem of fly-ash (coal grit) in the flue gases, the boilers could be lower and the grit removal equipment was unnecessary. The height of the boiler house was lowered from 43m (140ft) to 26m (85ft) thereby reducing the visual impact of the building. 41
Oil-firing also lessened the impact of the power station on its surroundings. There was no handling of coal and ash on the riverside and no unsightly on-site coal storage. Oil brought by tanker or barge was unloaded cleanly and relatively quietly through bunkering hoses to storage tanks. It was originally envisaged that these tanks would be located adjacent to the river to enable water to be used for emergency fire fighting, 42 but the requirement for the building line to be set back from the river meant that the tanks had to be located on the south side, which potentially compromised the fire fighting arrangements. The designers developed the elegant solution of installing the three large tanks underground, thereby reducing the fire risk and further improving the overall visual appearance of the area. Although oil-firing had been specified to reduce the dependence of electricity supplies on coal, the technologies associated with the handling and burning of oil had the benefit of reducing the visual and environmental impact of the power station.
The urban location of the power station was also a stimulus to another technology: waste heat from the power station could be used to provide heat to neighbouring commercial and domestic users. Section 50 of the Electricity Act 1947 required the Central Electricity Authority 'to investigate methods... by which heat may be used for heating of buildings in neighbouring localities.' 43 However, in 1947 there seemed to be little interest from local authorities near Bankside and there is a suggestion that providing district heating would have delayed the completion of the power station. 44 A successful district heating scheme was installed at Battersea power station in 1951 supplying heat to the Churchill Gardens Estate and to 2,400 flats in Dolphin Square in Pimlico. 45, 46 The main impact on the urban fabric was a 38m tall accumulator tower in Pimlico. In 1958 a detailed plan was developed for supplying hot water from Bankside to the City of London. The plan estimated that the scheme would be capable of heating two-thirds of buildings in the City saving 164,000 tons of coal per year and fulfilling the requirements of the smokeless zone regulations. 47 The proposal was rejected by the City of London Corporation because of the small difference in cost between the scheme and conventional heating. A similar study undertaken today would include an environmental impact assessment, which would include the 'costs' of pollution, and which may have swung the argument in favour of the district heating scheme.
District heating schemes for urban areas attracted periodic interest throughout the 1960s and 1970s. A 1964 proposal for the new town of Milton Keynes — envisaged as fifty high-density housing areas linked by a monorail — was to have pipes for the district heating scheme run along the monorail supports. 48 At Bankside the issue of district heating was raised again in the 1970s and the London Electricity Board constructed a separate boiler house in the north face of the power station. Potential users included extensive government offices but again there was little interest and the project was abandoned in 1975. 49 Although the district heating scheme was stimulated by the urban location it was unsuccessful at Bankside. This was due to economic rather than technological constraints as the technology had been applied successfully elsewhere.
Decline and renaissance of urban power
Economic factors were the primary reason for the decline of Bankside power station. The increase in oil prices in 1973-74, as a result of the political crisis in the Middle East, made operation of oil-fired power stations uneconomic in comparison with coal-fired and nuclear stations. 50 In the late 1970s Bankside was only used at peak periods of demand, mainly in the winter. 51 The problem of urban air and water pollution was also becoming unacceptable. The increasing demand for electricity throughout the operational life of Bankside made larger power stations necessary. The great volume of smoke produced, and the greater quantities of coal and cooling water required, meant that locating these in urban areas was problematic. Meanwhile, advances in electrical engineering led to the high voltage 'supergrid' which allowed the bulk transfer of energy, so it was no longer necessary to build power stations close to the large urban consumers. From the 1960s coal-fired power stations were constructed near the coalfields of the midlands and Yorkshire, and nuclear stations were built around the coast. 52 Larger and more efficient power stations were developed, unconstrained by the limitations of urban locations — such as the visual impact of chimneys, cooling towers, fuel handling and storage and the adverse effects of noise and pollution. Electricity generation at Bankside power station ended in October 1981. Other power stations in London had either closed completely or were used as transformer substations. Battersea 'A' closed in 1975 and Battersea 'B', closed in autumn 1983. 53
However, the urban power station is perhaps enjoying a renaissance as a consequence of other technological, political and economic factors. Developments in the offshore gas industry made natural gas available in the UK from 1966, but British Gas was a monopoly supplier. 54 The political decision to deregulate the gas industry in 1986 opened up this market to competition — the dash for gas — and made gas-fired power stations viable. Gas is now the largest source of fuel for UK power stations, accounting for 54% of electricity production 55 and several new gas-fired power stations have been built in urban areas. For example, a gas-fired power station was opened in 2001 on an urban brownfield site in Great Yarmouth, replacing a coal-fired 'brick cathedral'. The new station produces 60 per cent more electricity on 20 per cent of the land area of the old power station. 56 Gas is cleaner than coal or oil and the flue-gases require no treatment. Gas-fired power stations therefore have a much smaller visual and environment impact, making location in industrial urban areas more acceptable.
Transformation: Bankside to Tate Modern
The future of the redundant power station was uncertain following closure in 1981. Bankside was too new for official listing as a building of architectural or historical importance despite the precedent set in 1980 when Battersea power station was listed. In 1988 the Department of the Environment adopted the 30-year rule for newer buildings, but Bankside was not included because following privatisation of the electricity industry the site 'had been given to Nuclear Electric as an asset to exploit'. 57 Listing would have constrained the uses to which the building could be put. The campaigns to have the building protected exemplify the change in attitude to industrial architecture that had occurred since the 1940s. Scott's cathedral of power was now seen as of major architectural importance. What was fought against so strongly on amenity and visual grounds was now regarded as something to be preserved. The new debate was about how the building could be saved and reused.
After a decade of uncertainty the Tate Gallery acquired Bankside power station in 1994 to house a collection of modern art. The development of Tate Modern is in keeping with government policy on regeneration: the reuse of old buildings is important for the revitalisation of urban areas. 58 Tate Modern opened in May 2000 and brought an economic benefit of £100 million and about 3,000 new jobs to a relatively poor London borough. 59 In 2009 it attracted 4.74 million visitors. Tourists are also drawn to the area by the neighbouring Shakespeare's Globe and the Millennium Bridge. Although these projects are independent of the development of Tate Modern it is also true that 'much of what has been possible has been a by-product of the Tate's decision to locate in the former power station'. 60 The Millennium Bridge now physically links the old power station to St Paul's cathedral which the critics of the 1940s had wished to separate as far as possible.
‘Redevelopment worthy of the heart of London’: Bankside and Southwark from the dome of St Paul’s cathedral showing, on the far side of the river from left, new residential development and river walk, Bankside pier, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern. (December 2001)
The building of Bankside power station was the product of a complex set of local and national factors: political, social, economic, environmental and technological. The social and amenity value of the south bank was a key consideration at the planning stage, as were pollution and wider environmental concerns. These remained throughout the operational life of the station, but it was wider political events — the fuel crises of 1947 and 1973-74 — that were instrumental in both the approval of, and the eventual closure of, the power station. Bankside is a building whose role changed from a technological one (electricity generation) to a social one (the display of art). However, its influence on the surroundings is, and always was, much wider. Its impact on St Paul's cathedral was a concern during the planning stage, but Bankside itself became an architectural icon of the mid-twentieth century, as has the Tate Modern of the twenty-first century. Tate Modern is an example of the economic benefits that urban regeneration can bring. Ironically it could be said that the 1943 County of London Plan, with its visionary aim of banishing industry and regenerating Bankside for recreational purposes was achieved 60 years after it was first proposed. The transformation of Bankside power station to Tate Modern has finally brought about, in the words of the 1947 public inquiry, the 'redevelopment of [the] area in a manner worthy of its position in the heart of London'. 61
I am currently researching the history of Bankside power station for a PhD. If you have any comments, observations, reminiscences, documents or photographs concerning Bankside power station I would be most interested to hear from you. Email: email@example.com.
1 Steele, J. ed. (1997) The Streets of London: The Booth Notebooks — South East (Walk 7 May 1899), London, Deptford Forum Publishing Limited.
2 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Plan No 7 Existing Bankside Power Works', Bankside generating station: miscellaneous plans and photographs, The National Archives [TNA], HLG 79/920.
3 Southwark Council (1961) 'Bankside, L.E.B Seventy years at Bankside', The Borough, November 1961, pp.20-23.
4 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Application for the extension of the Bankside Generating Station at Southwark', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
5 Department of Scientific and Industrial Research: Fuel Research Station, (1952), Grit emission from Bankside generating Station, TNA, AY 6/168.
6 Hannah, L. (1979) Electricity before Nationalisation: a study of the development of the Electricity Supply Industry in Britain to 1948, Macmillan, p.311.
7 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Application', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
8 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'letters: Central Electricity Board to City of London Electric Lighting Company Limited dated 28 July 1944 and City of London Electric Lighting Company Limited to London County Council dated 13 February 1945', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
9 Forshaw, J.H. and Abercrombie, P. (1943), County of London Plan 1943, Macmillan.
10 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) 'Letter LCC to Minister of Town and Country Planning dated 3 September 1945', Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496.
11 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) 'Letter from Ministry of Town and Country Planning to Air Ministry July 1946, Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496.
12 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) Bankside generating station: plans illustrating inspector's report; Bankside generating station: miscellaneous plans and photographs, TNA, HLG 79/918, HLG 79/920 and HLG 79/919.
13 Luckin, B. (1990) Questions of Power: electricity and the environment in inter-war Britain, Manchester, Manchester University Press, p.142.
14 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Application, Appendix D', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
15 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Proof of evidence of Mr J Hacking, chief engineer of the Central Electricity Board', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
16 Hannah, L. (1979) Electricity before Nationalisation: a study of the development of the Electricity Supply Industry in Britain to 1948, Macmillan, p.315-6.
17 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) 'Personal minute from the Prime Minister (C.R. Attlee) to the Minister of Fuel and Power (E. Shinwell) dated 15 March 1947', Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, POWE 14/496.
18 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) 'New Bankside Station. Circumstances in which the decision to proceed was taken', discussion of the issues also appears in the minutes of a cabinet committee meeting in TNA, CAB 130/20 Proposed Erection of a Power Station at Bankside: Meeting 1, (Cabinet Office, 21 May 1947), Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496.
19 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) 'New Bankside Station. Circumstances in which the decision to proceed was taken', Minute by the Electricity Division, April 1948, Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496.
20 Hannah, L. (1979) Electricity before Nationalisation: a study of the development of the Electricity Supply Industry in Britain to 1948, Macmillan, p.134.
21 Goodman, D. and Chant, C. (1999) European Cities and Technology: industrial to post industrial city, London, Routledge, p.87.
22 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Application', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
23 The Times (1947) 'The Bankside Power Station, Sir Giles Scott Explains', The Times, 20 May 1947.
24 Stamp, G. and Harte, G.B. (1979) Temples of Power, Burford, Cygnet Press.
25 James E. and Woodward, C. (1983) A guide to the Architecture of London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, p.291.
26 Ministry of Power (1958-1962) 'EL 64/2/30 Ministry of Power Bankside 'B' Generating Station Extension approval dated 7 August 1958', Siting of new power stations: extension to Bankside, Borough of Southwark, TNA, POWE 14/1116.
27 Ministry of Power (1958-1962) 'Ministry of Power CEGB Bankside 'B' Consent dated 7 November 1960', Siting of new power stations: extension to Bankside, Borough of Southwark, TNA, POWE 14/1116.
28 Luckin, B. (1990) Questions of Power: electricity and the environment in inter-war Britain, Manchester, Manchester University Press, p.138.
29 Luckin, B. (1990) Questions of Power: electricity and the environment in inter-war Britain, Manchester, Manchester University Press, pp.145-153
30 Prime Minister's Office (1928-1929) Electricity: Battersea Power Station. The King's objection to building, TNA, PREM 1/69.
31 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1947-1963) Gas washing plant Battersea: Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/141, see also Ministry of Fuel and Power (1948-1949) Gas washing plant Battersea: Bankside, POWE 14/142.
32 Moore, R. and Ryan, R. (2000) Building Tate Modern, London, Tate Gallery Publishing, p.182.
33 Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society (2009) Newsletter, the phenomenon of 'plume drop' can be seen in the recently published photo in the newsletter of October 2009.
34 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1947-1963) 'meeting between the Electricity Commissioners, the Ministry of Health, the London Power Company [who operated Battersea power station] and the City of London Electric Lighting Company Limited on 16 June 1947', Gas washing plant Battersea: Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/141.
35 Scorer, R.S. (1973) Pollution in the air — problems, policies and priorities, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, p.76-83.
36 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1947-1963), letter from borough of Southwark dated 5 January 1953, Gas washing plant Battersea: Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/141.
37 Health & Safety Executive (1976) Industrial Air Pollution 1975, London, HMSO, p.33.
38 Bettleheim, J., Kyte, W.S. & Littler, A. (1981) 'Fifty Years' Experience of Flue Gas Desulphurisation at Power Stations in the United Kingdom', The Chemical Engineer, Vol.369, pp.275-284.
39 Health & Safety Executive (1982) Industrial Air Pollution 1981, London, HMSO, p.7.
40 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) Bankside generating station: miscellaneous plans and photographs, TNA, HLG 79/919.
41 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949), 'New Bankside Station. Circumstances in which the decision to proceed was taken', Minute by the Electricity Division, April 1948 reference to a minute by Sir John Kennedy one of the Electricity Commissioners', Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496. See also Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Plan 14 showing height of the planned station', Bankside generating station: plans illustrating inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/919.
42 Ministry of Fuel and Power (1947-1963) Gas washing plant Battersea: Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/141, the experience gained during the war by the Petroleum Board in fighting oil fires is mentioned in Ministry of Fuel and Power (1945-1949) Electricity generation: siting of generating station, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/496.
43 Great Britain (1947) Electricity Act 1947, London, HMSO.
44 Ministry of Power (1947-1958) City of London District Heating Scheme, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/265.
45 Ministry of Power (1963-1969) District heating schemes: role of power stations, TNA, POWE 14/1591.
46 Ministry of Power (1958-1960) Final report on the Pimlico district heating scheme, TNA, POWE 14/1121.
47 Ministry of Power (1947-1958) City of London District Heating Scheme, Bankside, TNA, POWE 14/265.
48 Ministry of Power (1963-1969) District heating schemes: role of power stations, TNA, POWE 14/1591.
49 Department of Energy (1983) Bankside District Heating Scheme, TNA, EG 2/1627.
50 Central Electricity Generating Board (1986) Advances in Power Station Construction, Oxford, Pergamon Press, p.6.
51 Health & Safety Executive (1982), Industrial Air Pollution 1981, London, HMSO, p.6.
52 Department of Energy (1986) Sizewell B Public Inquiry, London, HMSO, Chapter C53.
53 Battersea Power Station Community Group, Website www.batterseapowerstation.org.uk, accessed August 2010.
54 Department of Trade and Industry (2000) Development of the UK Oil and Gas Resources 2000, The Stationery Office.
55 Department of Energy & Climate Change www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/fuel_mix/fuel_mix.aspx, accessed August 2010.
56 Great Yarmouth Power Limited (n.d.) Great Yarmouth Power A New Power Station for a New Millennium, Great Yarmouth, Great Yarmouth Power Limited.
57 Moore, R. and Ryan, R. (2000) Building Tate Modern, London, Tate Gallery Publishing, p.190.
58 Department of the Environment Transport and Regions (DETR) (2000) Our Towns and Cities: The Future — Delivering an Urban Renaissance, HMSO, p.56.
59 Kennedy, M. (2001) 'This is the favourite exhibit in the world's favourite museum of modern art', The Guardian, 12 May 2001.
60 Teedon, P. (2001) 'Designing a place called Bankside: on defining an unknown space in London', European Planning Studies, vol.9 issue 4 (June 2001), p.459. This paper discusses how the London Borough of Southwark has defined and promoted the area known as Bankside as a landscape for cultural consumption.
61 Ministry of Town and County Planning (1944-1947) 'Application', Bankside generating station: inspector's report, TNA, HLG 79/918.
© Stephen Murray, 2010