Thursday, 8 April 2010

People ask: "Why Battersea?"

We say: Why Not?

Contrary to popular opinion, Battersea is NOT the "weakest link," thank you very much! An interesting query from one of Rafayel's guests proffered the perfect opportunity to briefly share interesting tidbits of an up-and-coming area that has enough urban and bucolic attractions to keep you here! As Cityam says: When do you know if an area is going up in the world? Normally an influx of luxury hotels and award-winning restaurants should be a good enough sign..." (Full article here:

Rafayel is proud of its spot in Battersea. Norman Foster aptly describes it as having the "luxury of a surprisingly calm style of urban living as well as its village-like feel..." quoted in an article by Peter Swain of the exclusive AMEX Platinum Centurion Magazine.

The fact that it's not directly connected by the Underground has been Battersea's biggest problem for years. It is for this reason people call it the middle-of-nowhere. But to overcome this slight impediment, Rafayel provides complimentary shuttle services to the nearest tube station, Clapham Common Underground (Northern line), which is a mere 7 minutes away, ( and to Clapham Junction.

Battersea's claim to fame - The Battersea Power Station

An impressive, now disused, art deco edifice designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, built between 1929 and 1939 currently being renovated into a mass entertainment and commercial complex, with dedicated transport links, has become one of the best-known landmarks in London over the last 50 years to enjoy a celebrity status owed to numerous cultural patronages, including the filming of The Beatles' Help! or being used in the cover art of Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals the story of which, by the way, is quite fascinating.

Photographs for the album cover were taken in early December 1976. For the photo shoot, an inflatable pink pig, made by the Zeppelin Company, was tethered to one of the southern chimneys. However the pig broke free of its moorings and rose into the flight path of London Heathrow Airport to the astonishment of pilots in approaching planes. The runaway pig was tracked by police helicopters before coming to ground in Kent. Whether the pig escaped, or was released on purpose to increase publicity, is not known, but it certainly adds to the charm of the story!

More recently, Rafayel was privileged to host the Nike delegation who were in London, in a prelude event to the 2010 World Cup, where Battersea Power Station was the perfect event venue for football players from participating teams during the Nike unveils the new Brazil home and away kit, plus 8 away kits for the other Nike-sponsored federations appearing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Sights and sounds of Battersea

Battersea is part of London on the south bank of the River Thames. Roughly triangular in shape, its northern boundary is the Thames, as it runs first north again to pass Westminster.

At its core is Battersea Park, an 83 hectare green space laid out by by Sir James Pennethorne between 1846 and 1864 and opened in 1858, and home to a zoo and the London Peace Pagoda.

Clapham Junction, claimed to be the busiest railway station in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The London Heliport, London's busiest heliport, sited on the Thames a half mile due north of Clapham Junction station.

St Mary's Church. Benedict Arnold is buried here. There are four spectacular stained glass windows, celebrating Arnold, William Blake, William Curtis and J.M.W. Turner.

New Covent Garden Market, a major fruit and vegetable wholesale market, resited from Covent Garden in 1974 (Also considered by many to be in Nine Elms).

Sir Walter St John's School, now Thomas's day school, was founded in 1700. Parts of the present building date back to 1859.

Price's Candles on York Road, was the largest manufacturers of candles in the UK, now it has been converted into residential flats.

Royal Academy of Dance, containing several studios and associated with the University of Surrey.

Some celebrities who have lived, or currently live, in Battersea

Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke, Harry Hill (Comedian), Bob Geldof (Singer/songwriter, Political Activist), Pixie Geldof (Socialite and Model), Ronnie Biggs (the 'Great Train Robber'), Freddie Foreman (prominent figure in London's '60s gangland scene), Dannii Minogue (Musician), Donald Swann (Musician), So Solid Crew (Musicians), John O'Farrell (Writer), Jack Dee (Comedian), Greg Rusedski (Tennis player), Rick Parfitt (singer with Status Quo), Johnny Briggs (Actor), Gordon Ramsay (Chef), Vivienne Westwood (Fashion Designer), Simon Le Bon (Musician), Buster Merryfield (Actor), William Wilberforce (erstwhile campaigner against slave trade), Katie Leung (Actress), Howard Eastman (Boxer), Dervla Kirwan (Actress), Rupert Penry-Jones (Actor), Joely Richardson (Actress), Polly Paulusma (Musician).

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