It’s the end of the road for Emsworth gas relic

LANDMARK The gasometer in Palmers Road, Emsworth, which is to be demolished soon. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (123093-3470)

LANDMARK The gasometer in Palmers Road, Emsworth, which is to be demolished soon. ''Picture: Sarah Standing (123093-3470)

Brian MacDonald outside his home on the Berewood estate in  Waterlooville Picture: Malcolm Wells (170426-1650)

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IT’S a huge structure that harks back to Britain’s industrial revolution.

And it’s always been a bit of a talking point in Emsworth – with some loving its striking look and others seeing it as an ugly eyesore on the skyline.

WORK The Emsworth Gasometer being built in 1934. Pictures: Tony Yoward

WORK The Emsworth Gasometer being built in 1934. Pictures: Tony Yoward

But, after 160 years, gas holders will be no more in Emsworth.

The current gas holder, built in 1934, is being dismantled by Southern Gas Networks and could make way for new development.

The one-acre site, off Palmers Road, has had gas holders ever since 1853 when The Emsworth Gas and Coke Company was formed to provide gas to people in Emsworth.

The current gas holder was built on a huge concrete base and was used to store supplies that came from Portsmouth.

Tony Yoward, 86, from Emsworth, has been researching gas holders and said the metal structure was transported by rail from the north.

He said: ‘The gas holder always had to be full on a Sunday morning.

‘As everybody cooked their roast, the gas would go down, so it had to be full otherwise they would run out.’

He said he was sad to see it go.

‘We have got used to it,’ he said.

‘It’s part of the history of Emsworth.’

Mr Yoward said it is not technically a gasometer as it was never used to measure gas.

Ray Cobbett, from Emsworth, from Hampshire Friends of The Earth, said: ‘Over the years there’s been a love-hate relationship.

‘It’s hardly a thing of beauty. It’s a piece of valuable real estate.’

Claire Buchanan, a spokeswoman from Southern Gas Networks, said demolition is likely to take place in 2013 and the land may be sold.

She said: ‘We recently purged the gas holder, meaning it’s been cut off and no longer contains gas.

‘We now have more efficient ways of storing the gas we distribute, such as in our high pressure pipes.

‘We appreciate some people are fond of these striking structures, many of which have been standing since the Victorian era, however they have served their purpose and it’s more cost-effective if we take down the gas holders we no longer require.’

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