Demolition of Emsworth’s huge gas holder begins

The gas holder in Emsworth Picture: John Tweddell
The gas holder in Emsworth Picture: John Tweddell
Commercial Road
Picture: Malcolm Wells

LETTER OF THE DAY: Commercial Road needs a makeover

  • Gas holder has been in place for 80 years
  • Been redundant since 2012
  • Demolition work has now started
  • It is not known what will happen to the site once it is demolished
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THE demolition of a gas holder is being captured on camera for future generations.

The huge building, off Palmers Road, Emsworth, has been a familiar grey and brown landmark in Emsworth for more than 80 years.

People always want to know about Emsworth’s history so I think it’s important to document it

John Tweddell

It has dominated the skyline, but has been redundant since 2012.

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

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

As Southern Gas Networks begins to demolish it, from the inside out, John Tweddell is documenting the changes on camera for Emsworth Museum.

And the gas company is taking daily pictures to create a memorial book to commemorate what some have deemed in the past to be blots on the landscape – although others consider the striking structures a thing of beauty.

Mr Tweddell said: ‘I was granted access on the first day before any structural work was carried out to take photos for the museum.

‘There is a lot of red tape and health and safety involved in photographing the site.

‘I will be visiting two or three times over the eight weeks it takes to demolish it.

‘I’m not sure how I feel about it but it has certainly become a landmark over the years.

‘People always want to know about Emsworth’s history so I think it’s important to document it.’

In October last year, residents held a silent disco on the pavement with music by the likes of Pink Floyd while images of the gas works were beamed on to it.

A spokesman for SGN said the dismantling would take another 10 weeks.

He added: ‘We have used this as an opportunity to engage with local schools and deliver safety messages about gas to young people.

‘We have no further plans for the site as we have operational equipment installed there.’