Battersea, London: Where an Industrial Past Meets a Refined Future
By: LX Collection
Battersea has undergone a renaissance. The Thames-side district, just west of Central London—and facing Chelsea across the river—has transformed from an unloved pocket of land divvied up by railway lines, into a buzzy district of starchitects’ condominiums and trendy eateries and breweries, with a burgeoning reputation for culture.
In essence, this is a new neighborhood, yet the area is steeped in history. Derived from the name Badric’s Island, Battersea is one of the oldest recorded place names in London. From the 17th to 19th centuries, it was resplendent with market gardens, but with the arrival of post-industrial society, the area was supplanted with railways, factories, and gasworks. Battersea was also home to the first Black mayor in the city, who lived in the area from the 1890s until his death in the early 1930s.
If Battersea has an icon, it’s Giles Gilbert Scott’s four-chimneyed power station. (Pink Floyd fans will recognize it instantly, from the “Animals” album cover.) For decades, plans for the building’s reinvention appeared and then evaporated. Now, its rebirth is happening full steam ahead—taking in much of the surrounding area, too.
Condominiums have shot up across Battersea and neighboring Nine Elms, many of them with views of the Thames. The cream of the crop can be found at Foster + Partners’ curvaceous Battersea Roof Gardens and Gehry Partners’ Battersea Prospect Place. A select few industrial-chic apartments are available in the power station itself.
Places to Know
Much of the action is in the immediate orbit of the power station (which itself will soon open as a high-end shopping center, home to the ilk of Ralph Lauren and L’Occitane). You can relish oysters on the half shell at Wright Bros., sip a fresh-brewed India pale ale from Battersea Brewery, and catch the latest must-see indie film at The Cinema in the Arches.
Elsewhere, you can see top-notch comedy and immersive theater at the stunning Battersea Arts Centre; tackle the high ropes in the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape; commission a sculpture at Atelier.London; or devour a posh English breakfast at upmarket pub The Farmer’s Mistress.
Locals can have their moment of zen at Battersea Park—a glorious public space with Victorian gardens, a boating lake, and the Pump House Gallery.
As for getting around, Battersea is now very well connected, thanks to its own freshly minted London Underground station, the Northern line. Residents can also get from A to B by water, thanks to the Thames Clippers ferry service.
Roughly speaking, the Battersea district stretches along the Thames from Vauxhall to Wandsworth Bridge Road in the north; down the A214 road in the west; along the A3 in the south (skirting picturesque Clapham Common); and up along the A3036 in the southeast, passing another brand-new Underground station, Nine Elms.
The average sold price of residences in Battersea, according to realtor Foxtons, was just north of $1 million in 2021. For an apartment in the immediate vicinity of Battersea Power Station, you’ll pay on average $1 million to $2.5 million. The price for an apartment in the power station itself is anything from $1.1 million for a studio, to $24 million for a six-bedroom, seven-bath penthouse.
It’s the Ideal Neighborhood for…
…people who treasure history but live in the now. The area around the power station alone will keep you occupied year-round, and the bright lights of London’s West End are a swift Tube or boat ride away.