Battersea is in a state of shock tonight after a huge fire tore through a piece of its heritage.

The fire has been contained but smoke was still billowing out of Battersea Arts Centre at 7pm this evening.

Staff have been allowed into the front of the building to pick up personal belongings and witnesses said they looked “visibly shaken”.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: “It is still ongoing. We are going to be down there for a while. We are making steady progress.”

To make a donation to the arts centre visit the website.

Many people in Battersea are upset, concerned about the damage to the iconic arts centre.

Nearby homes do not appear to be damaged, but they may have suffered from large amounts of smoke still billowing from the roof.

Steve, 63, and Jenny Merredew, 69, from the Salvation Army, are providing hot drinks to the fire fighters and those evacuated from their homes.

Mr Merredew said: "We did it for the floods last year so we’re going to be open in a minute to give people a hot drink and someone to chat to.”

Artistic Director Battersea Arts Centre David Jubb said on Twitter: "Thanks to all for offering support @battersea_arts It's heartbreaking. But we will get through this. Brick by brick. Most importantly all ok."

Some people living in surrounding roads are now being allowed back into their homes, under police cordons.

Others living closer to the arts centre are not allowed back in yet and there is no word on when they will be allowed to go home.