The Hydraulic Power Station
Following a highly successful year of new venue launches, Blank Canvas is topping off 2017 with the unveiling of one of their most interesting spaces to date, The Hydraulic Power Station. Built in 1890 the building was one of five of it’s kind and was the showcase building of the London Hydraulic Power Company, used as a model for power stations in Argentina, Australia, New York and Europe.
Located in Wapping Wall, this impressive warehouse space is already set to be one of the most exciting venue launches of the coming year. Boasting much of the original hydraulic equipment and machinery, the space is bathed in atmospheric pools of natural light, pressure pipes, rusty chains, huge hooks, valves and bare brick walls. Its highly impressive physicality isn’t its only redeeming feature; the rich history of the site is as fascinating as it’s aesthetics, giving it a deep cultural story behind its intriguing exterior. At the time of opening it provided power throughout the central London area, with hydraulic power being London’s main power system, generating everything from bridges to private households in Kensington and Mayfair. Tower Bridge depended on hydraulic power, alongside countless City offices, West End theatres and department stores. When the site closed in 1977 it was not only the last of its kind in London; it was the last in the world. It has outlived others of its species in such widely scattered locations as New York, Melbourne, Sydney, Antwerp and Buenos Aires.
Following its close in 1977, the building was not forgotten, but in fact became a symbol of Wapping’s industrial history in a time of extreme development of the area. In 2000, the iconic arts program, The Wapping Project, took over the space and redeveloped the building with a 4 million pound
grant. The space received great acclaim and hosted a number of fascinating exhibitions and a diverse arts program. In the spring of 2010 it was also home to a widely acclaimed pop up restaurant.
Having been left vacant for several years, Blank Canvas have now taken over the events curation of the space, promising to return the venue to its former glory. An expertise in unusual and amazing event spaces in London, the company has the understanding and passion to open up the space up to the rest of the industry, making it a new iconic East London venue set to rival others of its kind.