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Title: Bankside Power Station: Planning, Politics and Pollution
Authors: Murray, Stephen Andrew
Supervisors: Horrocks, Sally
Gunn, Simon
Award date: 1-Feb-2015
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: Electricity has been a feature of the British urban landscape since the 1890s. Yet there are few accounts of urban electricity undertakings or their generating stations. This history of Bankside power station uses government and company records to analyse the supply, development and use of electricity in the City of London, and the political, economic and social contexts in which the power station was planned, designed and operated. The close-focus adopted reveals issues that are not identified in, or are qualifying or counter-examples to, the existing macro-scale accounts of the wider electricity industry. Contrary to the perceived backwardness of the industry in the inter-war period this study demonstrates that Bankside was part of an efficient and profitable private company which was increasingly subject to bureaucratic centralised control. Significant decision-making processes are examined including post-war urban planning by local and central government and technological decision-making in the electricity industry. The study contributes to the history of technology and the environment through an analysis of the technologies that were proposed or deployed at the post-war power station, including those intended to mitigate its impact, together with an examination of their long-term effectiveness. Bankside made a valuable contribution to electricity supplies in London until the 1973 Middle East oil crisis compromised its economic viability. In addition to altered economic externalities, changing environmental and social conditions influenced how Bankside was perceived. Its pollution became increasingly unacceptable and the building itself came to be seen as a major architectural and industrial archaeological achievement. The transformation to Tate Modern in 2000 was instrumental in the social repositioning of the gloomy post-industrial Bankside locality to a modern cultural area. Bankside’s central London location, its architectural and technological design, and its role as Tate Modern make this a significant case study in urban history, environmental history and the history of technology.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: PhD
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Description: Image removed from page 291 due to copyright restrictions.
Appears in Collections:Theses, School of Historical Studies
Leicester Theses

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