Memories of Battersea: Nick

Memories of Battersea is an oral history video project run by Spectacle and part funded by the Wandsworth Grant Fund. The project gives young adults from Battersea the opportunity to be trained in film-making while producing short films about their neighbourhood, collecting memories from elder Battersea residents, bridging intergenerational gaps and engaging with the history of their borough.

In this video, Spectacle met Nick Wood, the eclectic architect who designed and built the Carey Gardens estate in the early 70s in SW8 Battersea in Wandsworth.

Nick Wood, the GLC architect of Carey Gardens estate

Throughout his successful career at the London County Council and the Greater London Council, Nick aimed to create “council estates that didn’t look like council estates”, designing buildings that could provide an enjoyable living environment for its residents. Nick applied Sir Leslie Martin’s theories on land use to design Carey Gardens estate and his model proved that it was possible to achieve high density with low-rise buildings. During this time period, this was seen as revolutionary seeing as high-rise blocks were seen as more fashionable but cost more to build.

The Carey Gardens estate model, designed by Nick Wood

This Memories of Battersea episode gives an insight into the history of social housing, focusing on the effort of building new homes for the Battersea community after the devastation of World War II. Nick also walks through his theory use and intentions on building Carey Gardens as he sits down with an aerial map of the estate. He also mentions the Carey Gardens Co-operative, the tenant management organisation that plans events and coastal trips for the residents, proving how good urban housing design creates vibrant and happy resident communities.

Watch the full film here.

Visit Spectacle’s Memories of Battersea channel on Vimeo to watch other episodes featuring Battersea residents’ stories.

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Peckham Rye Station neglected by Network Rail

Network Rail’s redevelopment plans for Peckham Rye Station are more about profit and less about what they actually should be: renovation. The pictures linked below, of the bad condition of Peckham Rye, are a clear example of how Network Rail do not take care of buildings and facilities they own and their customers that use them. These puddles, and sometimes floodings are the direct result of the lack of maintenance, bad drainage and no roof to protect commuters from the rain. Network Rail has decided, in the name of profit, to bring big chains to the area and by doing so, kick out local businesses and communities, rather than simply tidy and refurbish their property, as the Peckham locals have requested.

Watch the trailer of our short film on Network Rail’s development plans, “Bleacher on the Rye”

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Visit our Peckham page for more blogs and information
Click Bleacher on the Rye to purchase our short movie on Network Rail’s redevelopment plans

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Bleacher on the Rye trailer released

Following several successful screenings, we have released a trailer for our new film Bleacher on the Rye, about the proposed redevelopment of Peckham Rye Station.

The residents of Peckham Rye claim they asked for a clean up of the station and surrounding area, described by community group Peckham Vision as a complex site with “commercial buildings nestled amongst railway buildings, viaducts and arches”. Instead the proposed redevelopment would gut the area to make way for a shopping centre and new residential blocks.

The film articulates the concerns of residents and local business people, who oppose the redevelopment, which one man describes as a “bleaching”. “They want a new set of people here,” he says.

Spectacle has been observing and documenting the ‘regeneration’ of London over the past 20 years, which has largely resulted in the displacement of local people, the break up of communities, the creation of gated communities and privatisation of public space.

Please contact us if you would like to organise a screening of this film.

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The Delhi Eye – A Symbol of Innocence and Inexperience?

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With the Commonwealth Games slipping into their final days in Delhi, other construction efforts are rushing for completion in a similar manner. Located away from central Delhi, in Kalindi Kunj gardens on the banks of the Yamuna River, the 45m wheel aspires to evoke comparisons with its more famous London counterpart. However, like much of the city, it remains unfinished and unused, with it’s location unknown to most locals and with the RP20 entrance fee to the gardens likely to prevent it being enjoyed by all levels of society.

It does boast one feature that the London Eye doesn’t – a VIP pod equipped (as rumour has it) with a minibar and a television. In case the view from the top proves underwhelming.

Click London Olympics for more blogs
See our Olympics project pages for more information and videos.
Or visit PlanA our general blog on urbanism, planning and architecture.

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Battersea Power Station-Privatising the river front

BATTERSEA POWER STATION and Berkeley Homes are blocking the river access. REO, current owners of Battersea Power Station, are planning to do nothing on the site until after 2012 and not completing construction until 2020. That is their planned schedule, of course there could be delays and it could slip into the mid or late 20s. Meanwhile Londoners are excluded from using the river front.

REO like to claim they are concerned to benefit local people and Londoners in general but actually do nothing to back this up. A quick and relatively cheap benefit REO could implement NOW to demonstrate their good intentions would be to open up access to the river.

The Thames Path, part of the National Trail, is unique, it’s the only long distance path to follow a river for most of its length. It should be possible to walk the entire length of the River Thames through the city centre.

Thames Path (section 14)

Thames Path (section 14)

Currently the Thames Path on the south bank going east runs along the embankment of  Battersea Park, extends to a new pedestrian bridge that goes under Chelsea Bridge towards the Power Station.

New pedestrian footbridge under Chelsea Bridge looking east

There is then a short riverside path running in front of the new Berkeley Homes flats that ends in a gate saying: “Private Property: No public Access Beyond this point. Site access only” and “Danger Construction Site”

Is this really "private property"?

Is this really "private property"?

There is no obvious reason why Berkeley Homes should be able to privatise this river front access for their exclusive use. Is it legal? There is no sign of any construction work being done beyond these gates. It cannot be because the Power Station is unsafe as REO, current owners of the site, have recently agreed to build a marquee inside the roofless turbine hall between the four chimneys for lucrative income generating public events.

View of Berkeley Home's office from north bank

View of Berkeley Home's office from the north bank. Why is this blocking the "Thames Path"?

The path could easily extend east in front of the power station and connect with the Thames Path at Kirtling St and Tideway Walk.
The only real obstacle is the Cringle Street Refuse Transfer Station. However at other points on the Thames were there are such riverside waste transfer stations the path continues inside a protective cage. On REO’s own model (below) they showed the path going out onto a jetty over the river.  The grey jetty already exists only the white jetty extensions at either end are needed to make the Thames Path continuous and by pass the Refuse Transfer Station.

REO's model showing extended jetty running in front of Waste Transfer Station

REO's model showing extended jetty running in front of Waste Transfer Station

REO’s own plans shows a riverside footbridge going around the waste transfer plant. A small extension of the jetty ( in white) provides a path that bypasses the Waste transfer plant.

There is no reason the Thames Path could not be opened up NOW, cheaply and immediately. If you want to let REO know how you feel about them blocking the Thames Path you can fill in their questionnaire.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

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If you would like to object to the planning applications for Battersea Power Station you have until January 31st 2010 click here for more details.

For more information about Spectacle’s Battersea Power Station project including video interviews.

To read more blogs about Battersea Power Station

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Do you have any ideas for Battersea Power Station?

Do you have ideas for how Battersea power station could be used NOW or in the FUTURE?

REO, the current owners of Battersea Power Station, make vague promises about community use and access to the site but all their plans are projected way into the future. REO’s schedule is “planning” until 2012 and building only set to finish in 2020- nearly 40 years after the power station was decommissioned.

Do you have any ideas for immediate use?

How about something for the kids like a giant adventure playground?
A river bus hub for river buses that acccept oyster cards?

The building is so huge, many times the size of its little and uglier sister the Tate Modern, it can probably accommodate all your ideas.

REO insist on only considering grandiose money making schemes on the site. They clearly plan to do nothing until 2012 and then only if they get their tube extension. This “all or nothing” approach flies in the face of current economic realities and other successful models of re-using industrial buildings based on either gradual and organic development or imaginative re-use of the spaces.

Do you have any ideas for how to use such a big building?

A museum of power technology; steam, water, wind, coal?
A Museum of the Thames? It could contain many boats, it has a river front. It has a great views from the chimneys.
An extension of the Science or Natural History Museums for all their bigger exhibits?
A Museum of Flight. Battersea has connections with aviation e.g.1900s Battersea Balloon Works.

Most of REO’s plans are for building around the site.Their ideas for the power station are banal, a conference centre (yawn), hotel and shopping (novel) and, would you believe, flats. If there was ever a building inappropriate for residential use it is Battersea Power Station. Their plans necessitate vandalising the magnificent brick facades by punching through windows in order to maximise income generating floor space. Light wells would be the more appropriate, architecturally sensitive but less profitable option.

Do you have any ideas that do not mean destroying the architectural value of the building?

REO make much of the “green spaces” ( the little bits between what they plan to build around the power station) but are less keen to make clear most are private spaces. Do you have ideas for the site that do not require surrounding and obscuring the Power Station with dense ugly office buildings?

Do you have any ideas how to use the current open spaces around the power station?

Doing nothing until 2020 demonstrates a bankruptcy of ideas by REO. If REO cannot think of, or at least allow, any uses that benefit Londoners and the local community then they are unsuitable custodians of a national treasure and should hand over the site to public ownership.

Visit Spectacle’s on-going Battersea Power Station Project

Watch a video trailer here: Battersea Power Station – The Story So Far

Subscribe to our newsletter mailing list, visit our contact page to subscribe

If you live in the neighbourhood and would like to get involved, contact us here putting Battersea Power Station in your message.

Click here to view more Battersea Power Station links

Spectacle Home Page

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