Lots RoadChelsea is an affluent area, bounded to the south by the River Thames.
Power Station was a coal (and later oil-fired then gas-fired) power station, which supplied electricity to the London Underground system.
A power station at Lots Road
was originally planned by the Brompton and Piccadilly Circus Railway (B&PCR, now part of the Piccadilly line) in 1897. The B&PCR was controlled by the District Railway (DR, now the District line) from 1898, and was sold in 1901 to Charles Yerkes’ Metropolitan District Electric Traction Company, which built the station to provide power to the DR. The station allowed the District line trains to change from steam haulage to electric. At around the same time the Metropolitan Railway built its power station at Neasden.
The station was built end-on to the Thames, on the north bank of the tidal Chelsea Creek. Construction started in 1902 and was completed in December 1904, the station becoming operational in February 1905. The station burned 700 tonnes of coal a day and had a generating capacity of 50,000 kW. At the time it was claimed to be the largest power station ever built, and it eventually powered most of the railways and tramways in the Underground Group.
The station was re-equipped and improved several times. During the early 1920s a sump & hopper system for more efficient fuel handling was installed. A modernisation undertaken in the 1960s converted the station to 50 Hz generation and from coal burning to heavy fuel oil. The number of chimneys was reduced from the original four to two. Between 1974 and 1977, with the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea, the boilers were converted to burn gas, with the option of oil firing if required. The station later worked in conjunction with the ex-London County Council Tramways power station at Greenwich to supply the London Underground network.
The station played a part in the birth of commercial radio in the UK. When the first two radio stations, LBC and Capital Radio, opened in October 1973, the site for their medium wave transmitters was not complete. As a result, a temporary ’Tee’ antenna was strung up between the two chimneys (transmitting LBC on 417 m (719 kHz), and Capital Radio on 539 m (557 kHz)), until the permanent site at Saffron Green was ready in 1975. Some years later the site was used again, on 720 kHz (for a low power MW relay of BBC Radio 4’s LW service) which was in use until 2001 when the radio transmitter was moved to Crystal Palace.
In the 1990s, it was decided not to re-equip Lots Road
again; rather it was to continue to operate only until the machinery’s life was expired.
It was finally shut down on 21 October 2002, and since then all power for the tube system has been supplied from the National Grid.
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Lots Road Power Station (2005).
Its eastern boundary was once defined by the River Westbourne, which is now in a pipe above Sloane Square
tube station. The modern eastern boundary is Chelsea Bridge Road and the lower half of Sloane Street
, including Sloane Square
, along with parts of Belgravia. To the north and northwest, the area fades into Knightsbridge
and South Kensington, but it is safe to say that the area north of King’s Road
as far northwest as Fulham Road
is part of Chelsea.
The word Chelsea originates from the Old English term for chalk
and landing place on the river
. The first record of the Manor of Chelsea precedes the Domesday Book and records the fact that Thurstan, governor of the King’s Palace during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042–1066), gave the land to the Abbot and Convent of Westminster. Abbot Gervace subsequently assigned the manor to his mother, and it passed into private ownership. The modern-day Chelsea hosted the Synod of Chelsea in 787 AD.
Chelsea once had a reputation for the manufacture of Chelsea buns (made from a long strip of sweet dough tightly coiled, with currants trapped between the layers, and topped with sugar).
King Henry VIII acquired the manor of Chelsea from Lord Sandys in 1536; Chelsea Manor Street
is still extant. Two of King Henry’s wives, Catherine Parr and Anne of Cleves, lived in the Manor House; Princess Elizabeth – the future Queen Elizabeth I – resided there; and Thomas More lived more or less next door at Beaufort House. In 1609 James I established a theological college on the site of the future Chelsea Royal Hospital, which Charles II founded in 1682.
By 1694, Chelsea – always a popular location for the wealthy, and once described as ’a village of palaces’ – had a population of 3000. Even so, Chelsea remained rural and served London
to the east as a market garden, a trade that continued until the 19th-century development boom which caused the final absorption of the district into the metropolis.
Chelsea shone, brightly but briefly, in the 1960s Swinging London
period and the early 1970s. The Swinging Sixties was defined on King’s Road
, which runs the length of the area. The Western end of Chelsea featured boutiques Granny Takes a Trip and The Sweet Shop, the latter of which sold medieval silk velvet caftans, tabards and floor cushions, with many of the cultural cognoscenti of the time being customers, including Keith Richards, Twiggy and many others.
The exclusivity of Chelsea as a result of its high property prices has historically resulted in the term Sloane Ranger to be used to describe its residents. From 2011, Channel 4 broadcast a reality television show called Made in Chelsea
, documenting the ’glitzy’ lives of several young people living in Chelsea. Moreover, Chelsea is home to one of the largest communities of Americans living outside of the United States, with 6.53% of Chelsea-residents being born in the United States.