Work continues on repurposing the former Battersea Power Station as part of the £15 billion Nine Elms project that will create a whole new precinct located on the south bank of the Thames. Photographer Ian Wylie recently captured the work in progress. He writes: “I’ve been keeping an eye on the huge redevelopment of the entire Nine Elms area, including the new American Embassy quarter and the Battersea Power Station development. Also noticing the work going on to remove, rebuild and replace the four iconic power station chimneys as seen from other London viewpoints, including this one: flic.kr/p/rpGocV. So (these) photos were simply a result of another walk around the area where so much is changing so fast and yet reminders of London’s past still remain, such as this very old street sign: flic.kr/p/tQVY9W. It’s not an area that attracts a large number of visitors but it was interesting to see a few people walking around, just as I was, obviously also intrigued by the past, present and future of this site.” For more on the project, see www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk and www.nineelmslondon.com.
• The August Bank Holiday is upon us which means it’s carnival time! The Notting Hill Carnival kicks off this Sunday with an extravaganza of costumes, dancing, music and food. The carnival’s origins go back to the late Fifties and early Sixties (the exact date is somewhat controversial!) when it started as a way of Afro-Caribbean communities celebrating their cultures and traditions, drawing on the tradition of carnivals in the Caribbean. The carnival is now Europe’s largest street festival and this year’s parade signifies the start of a three year celebration in the lead-up to the Golden Jubilee year of 2016. The carnival kicks off at 9am on Sunday – children’s day – and the same time on Monday – adult’s day – and organisers say the procession should be completed by 7pm. For more, see www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com. PICTURE: Wayne G Callender/Notting Hill Carnival.
• A pop-up display of some of St Paul’s Cathedral’s treasures will appear today and tomorrow (Thursday, 21st August, and Friday 22nd August) in the cathedral’s crypt. Put together by Museum Studies students from Leicester University, the display will feature items relating to a royal event from each of the first three centuries of Wren’s church. They include images and objects from the Thanksgiving Service for the recovery of King George III in 1789 as well as items from Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. The display will be shown from 1pm to 2pm each day – entry is free via the cathedral’s north west crypt door. Meanwhile, the cathedral is offering a private, behind the scenes evening photography tour of the building for the winner of a photography competition looking for “the most surprising image” of the cathedral. The winner – and five friends – will also be treated to a meal at the Grange Hotel’s Benihama restaurant. The Surprise St Paul’s competition runs until 26th September and entrants just need to tweet or post their images to the church’s Twitter or Facebook pages with the hashtag #SurpriseStPauls. For more, see www.stpauls.co.uk.
• The National Gallery has made free wi-fi available throughout the building. The Trafalgar Square-based gallery says it’s now also welcoming visitor photography and is encouraging visitors to check in on Facebook and comment on Twitter using the hashtag #MyNGPainting. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.
• Fancy yourself a detective? The Museum of London and the BFI are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a copy of the first ever feature film starring the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. A Study in Scarlet was released 100 years ago this autumn and was directed by George Pearson with then unknown James Bragington playing the part of Holmes. An adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story of the same name, it is based around Brigham Young’s trek across America with his Mormon followers and sees Holmes solve a series of murders. The film was made at Worton Hall studios and on location in Cheddar Gorge and Southport Sands in 1914. The organisations are seeking the film in the lead-up to the Museum of London’s landmark exhibition on Holmes which opens in October. If you do happen to find the film, you can write to Sherlockholmes@bfi.org.uk or make contact via social media using the hashtag #FindSherlock.
• A public ballot has opened for tickets to attend the art installation Fire Garden by renowned French troupe Carabosse at Battersea Power Station this September. The event – which will be held on the nights of Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September – is one of the highlights of Totally Thames, a month-long celebration of London’s great river, and is presented as a tribute to the power station before it’s closed to the public for redevelopment. A free event, it’s expected to be so popular that organisers are holding a ballot for tickets. The ballot closes midday on 27th August. To enter via the Totally Thames website, head here.
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• It’s finally here. Open House London kicks off on Friday and with more than 800 buildings opening their doors, the only difficulty you’ll have this weekend will be choosing what you end up doing! This year’s theme is ‘celebrating architecture, people and place’ and among the highlights will be the opening of landmark structures like Battersea Power Station, Tower 42 (pictured), and the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) as well as 100 private homes, architects’ homes and “ground-breaking” housing developments and everything from the Shri Swaminarayan Temple in Brent to Horse Guards in Whitehall (certain buildings, like 10 Downing Street and The View from the Shard, are only open to people who won tickets in an earlier ballot). This year’s festivities also include a moonlit “culture crawl” through London on Friday night. If you haven’t ordered a hardcopy programme, you can check the listings online at www.openhouselondon.org. There’s also an Open House iPhone app available from the appstore.
• A series of works by Yinka Shonibare – including some never before seen in the UK – went on display at Greenwich yesterday, thanks to Royal Museums Greenwich. The works, which explore notions of “Britishness, trade and empire, commemoration and national identity”, can be found inside and around buildings including the Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory and include Fake Death Pictures – a series of five vision of the death of naval hero Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson, Wind Sculpture – a gravity-defying object located on the Queen’s House lawn, Cheeky Little Astronomer – a specially commissioned sculpture located in the Flamsteed House at the Royal Observatory, and Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle – last seen on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Yinka Shonibare MBE at Greenwich, which is supported by a range of talks, debates and tours, runs until 23rd February. For more, see www.rmg.co.uk.
• Bankside will be transformed this weekend as artists will be transforming disused hoardings and derelict buildings with original artworks as part of the Merge Festival. The work’s include Candy Chang’s Before I Die, Alex Chinnick’s Miner on the Moon, and Marcus Lyall and Mark Logue’s House of Pain. Until 20th October. For more on the festival celebrating Bankside, see www.mergefestival.co.uk.
• On Now: Michael Peto Photographs: Mandela to McCartney. This new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery just off Trafalgar Square features a previously unexhibited photo of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, taken at the beginning of their love affair. It’s one of 10 portraits taken by the late Hungarian-born photographer Michael Peto in London during the 1950s and 1960s – others feature Samuel Beckett, Jennie Lee, Paul McCartney and Ian McKellen. Admission is free. For more, see www.npg.org.uk.
The weekend of 21st and 22nd September represents the final chance to go inside and explore the Grade II*-listed Battersea Power Station before it is transformed as the centrepiece of a new £8 billion riverside development featuring a blend of residences, offices, shops, leisure and hospitality facilities. The former power station, built on the south bank of the River Thames in the 1930s, is one of the highlights of this year’s Open House London and will take visitors on a walking route which starts at the 2.5 acre ‘pop up park’ which appeared on the riverside earlier this year and then leads through to the remains of vast central boiler house and the 1950’s turbine hall B. It’s the first time the building has taken part in Open House London and the last chance to see inside before works begin in October. The power station will be open from 11am to 4pm on both days with last entries at 3pm. Entry is free. For more, see www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk or check out www.londonopenhouse.org.
• First-up, we’d like to wish you all a happy St Patrick’s Day! And if you missed the St Patrick’s Day Parade and free festival in London last Sunday, don’t worry, there’s still plenty of Irish cheer on the city streets with the London Eye and Battersea Power Station both turning green to mark the occasion while the green beer is flowing at the city’s many Irish pubs.
• The building some believe served as a model for the workhouse in Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist has been saved from demolition with a Grade II listing. Completed in 1778, the Covent Garden Workhouse in Cleveland Street became the workhouse of The Strand Poor Law Union in 1836 and was later used as an infirmary before more recently serving as the outpatients department of the Middlesex Hospital. The workhouse is believed to the most well preserved of the three surviving 18th century workhouses in London. Announcing the listing this week, John Penrose, Minister for Heritage and Tourism, said that while it is unknown whether or not the building was the inspiration for the workhouse featured in Oliver Twist, “we know that it is the sole survivor of the workhouses that were operating in the capital when Dickens wrote his famous novel and that as a young man he lived just nine doors along from it”. Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage, said the listing also recognised the association between the workhouse and Dr Joseph Rogers, whose direct experience of the workhouse when working as Chief Medical Officer led him to launch important reforms of the system of healthcare provision for the poor.
• David Gestetner, a key player in the development of office copying technology, has been commemorated with a blue plaque outside his former residence at 124 Highbury New Park in Islington. The Hungarian-born Gestetner lived at the property for 41 years until his death in 1939. The plaque was unveiled on Tuesday by two of his great grand-children.
• On Now: Watteau: The Drawings. The first retrospective exhibition of the drawings of French artist Jean-Antoine Watteau opened last Saturday at the Royal Academy of Arts. Watteau is known for inventing the genre of fetes galantes (small pictures of social gatherings of elegant people in parkland settings) and for his mastery of the ‘three chalks’ or trois crayons technique using red, black and white. The exhibition features more than 80 works on paper. There is an admission charge. Runs until 5th June. See http://www.royalacademy.org.uk for more information.