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Apple plans to move to the new Battersea Power Station development

As Apple leaks plans to integrate with Battersea development, we look into the history of Battersea and British music.

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We find out why London is all set to become a global tech hub.

Yesterday we learnt that Apple plans to put its London headquarters at Battersea Power Station, which is currently undergoing a $12 billion revamp.

Battersea Powerstation Scott Wylie

Battersea Power Station by Scott Wylie, Flickr

It’s no secret that former CEO and founder Steve Jobs was quite the music nerd as well as computer wizard – Jobs once referred to Bob Dylan as ‘one of my heroes’ and had over a dozen Dylan albums on his iPod, along with songs from seven different Beatles albums, six Rolling Stones albums and four albums by Jobs’ onetime lover, Joan Baez.

Steve Jobs By Matthew Yohe

Steve Jobs by Matthew Yohe

While the de-commissioned coal-powered fire station has been out of action since 1983, part of the building’s worldwide recognition is down to the British music scene, with the station appearing on several album covers as well as films and television programmes in its more than 70-year history.

One of its first notable cameos was in the opening scene of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1936 film, Sabotage. It also appeared briefly in The Beatles’ 1965 film Help!  with a caption identifying it as ‘a famous power station’. When asked to choose between the Beatles and the Stones, Steve Jobs said, ‘If the vault was on fire and I could grab only one set of master tapes, I would grab the Beatles.’

Algie the pig

The cover of Pink Floyd’s 1977 album, Animals was arguably the main reason why Battersea Power Station rose to fame. Created by long-time Floyd collaborators design studio Hipgnosis, the album sleeve featured photography, taken in early December 1976, of the power station with the group’s inflatable named Algie, floating above it.

The 30-foot long pig was tethered between two of the power station’s southern chimneys. During the shoot, it broke loose from its moorings and flew off, right into the flight path of Heathrow, before landing in Kent. Video footage of the photoshoot was used in the promotional video for the song Pigs on the Wing and the album was officially launched at an event at the power station.

Pink Floyd Animals Album Cover

Pink Floyd ‘Animals’ Album Cover by Jason Hickey, Flickr

The station’s starring role in rock and roll culture didn’t stop there. In 1978, The Jam shot the promotional video for their 1978 single News of the World on the roof. Photos from the shoot featuring the station also appear on the sleeve of the Snap! compilation album.

So iconic were these media appearances that the Battersea Power Station has become an icon in its own right in the rock and roll hall of fame and in 2008, a replica pig was flown in the air outside the station to promote the Simpsons Movie.


There have been many failed attempts to redevelop the site but the consensus has always been clear, the original structure must stay and in 1980, the building was awarded Grade-II listed status.

So how long until the new 42 acre site is due for completion? The developers reckon it will be finished by 2019 – enough time for another iPhone to come out at least. Find out more about the redevelopment of Battersea Power Station

Read more: Carlos Acosta bids farewell to classical ballet

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