Waterway group's founder wants to save gas holders

Published: Friday, 18 October 2019

THE founder of the East End Waterway Group wants to save the two gasholders by the Regent's Canal.

Tom Ridge is calling for their preservation, reflecting life by the Regent's Canal in the past, but their days could be numbered, Alan Tilbury reports.

GasholderPrime building land

The Bethnal Green gasholders however are on what could be prime building land and could be dismantled to make way for a housing development on the site.

Tom points out that the first gas holder dates back to 1866 and believes it is 'the most classical surviving example of a columnar guide frame in the world', with the second one dating back to 1889 and is the best surviving example of a lattice girder guide frame, built by the firm Samuel Cutler and Sons of Millwall, adding:

"They are really special and together I think they constitute a monument to the London gas industry.  I'm not saying it should be a museum but with such important structures there should be interpretation boards explaining how these things actually worked and why they were kept."

Build flats

However, St William Homes wants to build a block of flats on the site for private sale, but maintains it has no intention of scrapping the structures, as it understood they could be dismantled and erected elsewhere.

But Tom believes that this will ruin them, as there are no longer such engineers with the knowledge of such work, telling:

"I'd be mortified if they were knocked down.  I don't know what other word there might be.  I've been trying to save the gasholders for 15 years.  These two gasholders are incredibly important and there is nothing else like them anywhere else.  They must be left so people can enjoy seeing the guide frames against the sky and reflected in the canal.

Tom has gathered 2,000 signatures on a petition to save the gasholders.