Top Of The Pots

Remember we were talking about the giant (but pretty) chimneys that adorned Greenwich Power Station until some time in or after the 1970s?

Well – Sally has been giving them some thought and has come up with a little link. Take a peek at the picture of the original chimneys (clink on the link above) then look at this:

It’s that strange little cottage-y thing on the corner of the site, with the fun – but frankly pointless – tower. The pattern on the top is almost exactly the same. Sally wondered if the chimneys have been reused here.

Personally I’m unconvinced – there are pictures of the chimneys in their full glory up to the 1970s and I can’t imagine anyone in that modernist age being whimsical enough to go to the trouble of taking it down carefully (from a great height) to re-use, add windows and build a funny little house from it.

I’m sure that the house is from the original build – perhaps the gatekeeper’s cottage – but Sally’s sharp eye has come up with an existing example of what the chimneys would have looked like before they were chopped off, which is rather nice for those of us who never saw them the first time round.

What it doesn’t explain is what the hell that little chimney’s actually for. It must have stairs in it as it has windows – but the top ones are much higher than the top floor of the house’s roof (see below.) It would make a rubbish vantage-point for the river, as it’s at the back – someone standing on the tippy-top might get a good view of how their car was doing at the mechanic’s or if there were any good lots going into the auction house, but certainly no coal ships.

I once met a guard having a fag outside the power station and I asked him what was in that tower. He said that bit was completely locked up – he’d never seen in there and nor had anyone he knew.

What sordid secrets does that strange piece of architectural flamboyance on a largely utilitarian structure hold? It has to at least be the mortal remains of a former power station worker who witnessed something ‘politically inappropriate’ and was incarcerated by a secret brotherhood of otherwise-great-and-good figures in Greenwich Society (not the Greenwich Society, natch…)to ensure his silence.

Over the years he would have been slowly driven insane by the constant pounding of the pistons and grating of machinery. Local children playing in the neighbourhood streets would have whispered stories of the wild-eyed face that appeared at the tower windows every full moon. And then – then it would have all gone silent.

If that security guard was to unearth the secretly-concealed key to the – what shall we call it – ‘The Tower of Deaaaath,” he would find, at the foot of the narrow spiral staircase, the crumbled remains of a lone figure, clutching a scrap of paper. The letter’s contents, written in the unfortunate’s own blood, would reveal-

-that’s enough conspiracy theories. Ed.

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