Hovis, River Thames, Battersea Rail Bridge
& Fulham Power Station, Battersea, Wandworth, 1978
14l52: wandsworth, battersea, works, bakery, bridge, river, thames, power
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The view upstream from the garden in front of St Mary's Church Battersea, shows an industrial scene that has now disappeared. Correction - I think taken from Battersea Bridge
At left is Rank's Hovis Battersea Flourmill. The first mill on this site, built by Thomas Fowler in 1788 was apparently a rather curious horizontal windmill to a design by a former naval captain, Stephen Hooper. Fowler used it for grinding linseed to give linseed oil, but it was soon taken over and used to grind corn and a Boulton & Watt steam engine bought to replace or augment the wind.
The mill was replaced by a new mill using steel rollers rather than millstones by Mayhew & Sons in 1887, and the business was acquired by Joseph Rank, Hull's great miller, in 1914. He kept the Mayhew name and put his son Rowland in charge to try out new ideas in milling. Rowland's first move was to bring in the architects of Hull's greatest mills, Sir Alfred Gelder and Llewellyn Kitchen to provide modern mill buildings including some on land reclaimed from the river. They made various later additions to the site, fighting to build silos taller than were allowed under the London building regulations so that a whole barge of grain could be unloaded without stopping. After Rowland died in 1939, the mill became part of Rank's who became Rank Hovis McDougall Ltd in 1962. The mill closed in 1992 and was demolished in 1997. The tall triangle of Richard Rogers' Montevetro ('glass mountain') now occupies the site.
On the other side of the river, which is crossed by the Battersea Rail Bridge, is Fulham power station, with its 4 chimneys in line. Built for Fulham Borough COuncil and opened in 1936, it was the largest municipal power station in the country and had its own fleet of colliers to bring coal from the Tyne. It was also one of the first power stations to have flue-gas desulphurisation equipment, although this was removed around 1940. Nationalised in 1948 the power station was decommissioned in 1978 and demolished in the 1980s.