Lots Road Power station, one of the cursed london ue sites, it has been attempted countless times but never successfully accessed; and with good reason too, with several dozen cameras around the site, on site security, no ground floor windows and enough razor wire to fill a cruise ship, it certainly is a tough cookie.
Built between 1902-1905 Lots Road was originally a coal fired power station before being to converted to heavy fuel oil in 1960s and then to natural gas in the '70s. Lots Road provided power to the London underground before it finally closed on the 21st of October 2002.
This wasn't the first time I had tried to explore Lots Road, I had attempted it with Robsey back in March '06 but that merely knocked a possible access point off the list. So how do we get in then? Every single way in we saw was no no'd by some type of security measure, so eventually we looked at the last remaining option, the creek. With a bit of ingenuity and some serious climbing it seemed possible, and so myself, Dsankt and Jondoe launched our vessel out into the murky waters.
Attaching the rope to something was the hard part, but once sorted we were inside within 20 minutes. We stood in a large access tunnel with diggers and machinery parked along the sides. There was only one thing I wanted, a picture from the roof and so up we went. The design of the building was amazing, large five story windows let the ambient light stream into the turbine hall and the emergency lighting that had been rigged up made the machines glow.
The view from the top was something else, I found myself staring across the Thames at Battersea Power station and instantly started snapping. We headed back down passing a small Pyestock-esq control room but pressed on for now to the main turbine hall. To one end of the hall was a bay window behind which was housed the main control room, at the other end was the biggest window I have ever seen and inbetween lots of turbines. A few more snaps and we were control room bound.
Sadly it was a bit of a anti-climax. The room was a mere shadow of its former self, many of the dials and consoles had been removed and many of the levers bent, some broken. We salvaged a few stealth shots, as we were now meters from security's view, and headed back to our entrance. Sadly we had to cut this trip short as we were dangerously close to 6am and knew people would be arriving soon, but we would return.
So here we are again, a new year starting, returning to the london monster this time with fellow explorer st00p joining our intrepid bunch. While access was unchanged we hadn't fully considered the tide, which was almost out, meaning we had to pull our raft through treacherously deep mud and had to abandon it as "sunk" by the time we climbed out. Our aim for today was to find the cable tunnels, which we had heard rumors about, as well as explore the rest of the buildings.
Alot of work had gone on since our first visit, many of the generators were now contained in asbestos removal housing and a large chunk of the main turbine hall and several other areas were now cordoned off. No worries there was still lots to see, excuse the pun. We scoured the ground floor looking for some kind of hatch or stairs leading further down. Eventually we found them. Two reinforced doors led downwards with a series of cables going with it. Luckily we could open the door from the inside and so didn't have to mess about squeezing through. It wasnt to be however, the cables ran down a long set of stairs before heading straight up eight levels to a welded door. Damn!
We gave up our search and started taking a few photos here and there, returning to the roof once more for some more clear sky shots. On the way back down while on the first level we passed something quite unexpected. We passed through a archway straight into one of the old chimney stacks!, Lots Road used to have four it seems. A precarious set of ladder rungs bending in all kinds of directions ran to the capped top and definitely didn't look safe. But we needed something to compare the size of the chimney too. Hmmmm. "Ill go up" Stoop had volunteered, and as the guy holding the camera I didn't argue! So up he went, an insane amount of dust falling from the aged brickwork as the rungs strained and moved under his weight. He continued up until one actually pulled out of the wall!! we decided that was far enough and took the shot.
After a brief detour to find the large stacks, which ended up having no ladder at all, we continued to the main control room. A few more bits and bobs gone once more, so much so I didn't even get my camera out. We looked across a small bridge to a smaller building and thought 'why not' as we're here. Only problem was it was right in front of the security hut and if they looked up we would be done for. We waited for the right time before dashing over....To a completely stripped and eighty percent demolished nothingness, crap! To make things worse one of the guys in the security hut had come out to begin his rounds and blocked our retreat leaving us with nowhere to go.
We just prayed we hadn't messed up and luckily he walked off to begin his patrol and we headed back as fast as we could all the way to the opposite side of the site. With our boat scuttled we had to find another way out, luckily there was a handy fire escape onto the street, that'll do nicely, we opened the door and ran like hell into the night.