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Notes from Bob Carr — April 1994

Battersea Power Station

This time last year we were all agog at the news that Battersea Power station was being sold to Chinese buyers (GLIAS Newsletter June 1993). So far has very much happened?

The power station is now in a rather poor state — not surprising as the roof has been missing for six years. Even the superb pre-war A station control room once used as a Dr Who film set and the most important surviving item has reportedly had problems from rain leakage.

If the centre-spread article in the Evening Standard (Monday 31 January 1994) is anything to go by press opinion could be turning in favour of demolition. There is a proposal to use Battersea as a rubbish destructor for South London burning rubbish to generate electricity and it is claimed opinion polls repeatedly show Battersea Power Station is one of London's favourite landmarks. Against this can be set the proposal to clear the site and turn it into a pleasure garden along the lines of the old gardens at Vauxhall. In any case conservationists are now likely to have a difficult uphill struggle.

One hopes that the tide is not turning against the retention of this famous London building. With demolition starting recently at several power stations further down-river Thameside power stations are becoming scarce. Compare the present situation with the list of stations in 1979 complied by Doug Cross (GLIAS Newsletter April 1980). Bob Carr

Olympic Games

As well as the 1948 Olympics (GLIAS Newsletter February 1994) London also hosted the Games in 1908 when they were a somewhat smaller affair with only 19 nations taking part.

The athletic events then took place at the White City stadium and the aquatic ones in the swimming bath at Northampton Polytechnic, presently celebrating its centenary as City University.

The swimming bath in the basement of the A building (the original College Building by Edward W Mountford) is still in use and well worth a visit even if only for its period decoration. The university can claim to have an Olympic swimming pool but such pools have increased in size since 1908.

No Olympiads took place between 394 and 1896 but from 776BC to 394AD the games continued to be held (as now) at four-year intervals with relatively short gaps. In modern times there were no games between 1936 and 1948. Bob Carr

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© GLIAS, 1994