Pink Floyd fans will recognize this picture instantly: its the famous cover of the album Animals. The photograph was taken in December 1976, at the Battersea power station in London, and if you still don't remember it, a giant pink pig was part of the picture. The pig was actually a balloon filled with helium, tied to one of the building's chimneys and produced quite the anecdote. Shortly after the picture was taken, the rope holding the balloon got loose and the pig was adrift through the city's skies, chased by police helicopters, before being caught in Kent, frightening airplane pilots. The album was released in January 1977, immortalizing the famous photograph.
It is not known whether the pig was later released or not, for publicity reasons. As for the power station, it was shut down is 1983 and abandoned. It is a pity, as it was a notable example of industrial architecture, designed in 1930 by Giles Gilbert Scott and Theo Halliday and the biggest brick building in Europe. The chimneys give it its unmistakable image and were built in stages, the last of which was only finished in 1955.
Currently in an advanced state of degradation, the station is only used occasionally for artistic events and shows. In 2006, it harbored a Chinese art exhibit that left behind some traces, among them a war tank. These photographs we can see here by British photographer Mark Obstfeld are from that time.
However, the imposing building had more celebrated sightings, namely in the movies: Sabotage, by Alfred Hitchcock, Help, by Richard Lester (starring The Beatles) and also Full Metal Jacket, by Stanley Kubrick. In the latter, several scenes were actually shot inside the building.
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