Battersea: Some Hope (And Some Despair)

It is testament to the vastness of London that however many years you have been here, there will still be pockets of the city that are unfamiliar to you. Whilst visiting Tate Britain or Millbank I have often glanced over the Thames, with no little distaste, towards the enormous glass shapes past Vauxhall that blight the South Bank, but never actually ventured into the area. Battersea Power Station is the unmissable, cathedral-sized landmark for this quarter and presumably most of the land was still industrial until deindustrialisation. With the escalation of our housing crisis, the Nine Elms district has come under greater scrutiny as the ground zero for what Londoners have taken to calling “deposit boxes in the sky”; new-build flats which are marketed and sold, for fantastical prices, to speculators in Hong Kong or Singapore, whom we are told leave the flat empty but are happy to see a greater return on their investment than they would receive from any bank. I thought it might be an instructive, if monstrous, experience to go for a walk around here.

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