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Campaign launched to save two historic Victorian gasholders

PUBLISHED: 17:12 26 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 27 June 2019

The former Bethnal Green gasworks. Picture: East End Waterways Group

The former Bethnal Green gasworks. Picture: East End Waterways Group

EEWG

Campaigners have gained more than 1,000 signatures on a petition launched to save two historic Victorian gasholders which they fear are at risk.

Tom Ridge. Picture: MIKE BROOKETom Ridge. Picture: MIKE BROOKE

Local historian Tom Ridge of the East End Waterway Group (EEWG) has so far collected more than 1,000 signatures in a bid to conserve the structures located near the Regents Canal.

Tom said: "Here in Bethnal Green we are lucky enough to still have two gas holders that needn't be demolished or dismantled.

"They are the only ones left in situ on the canal. This is the only place left where there's any evidence still showing how important the gas industry was in London."

He explained how the gas industry was born in the capital and expanded with the growth of London's population in the nineteenth century.

The Bethnal Green gasholders photographed from the Regent's Canal towpath in 1998. Picture: MALCOLM TUCKERThe Bethnal Green gasholders photographed from the Regent's Canal towpath in 1998. Picture: MALCOLM TUCKER

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Fears over the future of the landmarks, known as numbers two and five, were raised after publication of an architect's drawings showing plans for the proposed homes with a circular apartment block in the smaller of the two gasholders but without the existing, historic guide frame.

Number two's guide frame is the earliest, most classical example in the world, Tom said. While taken as a whole it is the second oldest gas holder in the world. The oldest is in Fulham.

The EEWG believe the gasholders make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of the Regent's Canal conservation area and are treasured heritage assets which should be preserved.

The petition's signatories agree with Tom that a clear message should be sent to St William Homes and their architects that the gasholders must stay.

They also want guarantees number two's frame will be kept in place and number five rebuilt on its original concrete tank should it prove necessary to dismantle its lattice guide frame while the flats are being built.

A spokesman for St William said: "We are still in the early stages of design development for this site and welcome all views and feedback on our consultation proposals."

To sign the petition visit change.org

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