It’s been a rollercoaster month for the Battersea Arts Centre, which – during the final phases of a £13.3 million restoration led by Haworth Tompkins – saw its Grade II*-listed Grand Hall wrecked by fire.
Investigations have yet to confirm the cause, though some observers are pointing the finger at the old wiring in the 120-year-old building’s roof void.
As the arts centre began picking up the pieces, it faced yet further turmoil when it emerged its lovable black cat, Pluto, had disappeared. But within days the theatre feline popped up – entirely unsinged – along with some other good news. The Grand Hall’s irreplaceable Norman & Beard-designed 1901 pipe organ – thought to have been completely destroyed in the blaze – was in fact off site and being restored.
Meanwhile donations have been flooding in, with even the cash-strapped chancellor of the exchequer announcing a £1 million grant to help restore to its ‘former glory’ the arts centre – which just happens to be located in a key marginal seat.