Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2018.

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Larky
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Larky » 26 Jun 2018 06:53

Well said Stuart

JRW
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JRW » 26 Jun 2018 08:26

I restated the site's history of workers empowerment simply in response to the previous post, saying:
"To anyone but the chattering classes they represent the tyranny of Victorian privilege"

I find it astonishing the number of people throwing around accusations, when they have not read the case documents, know the facts, and in some cases, not having even gone to look at the site. Generic class struggle comments projected onto these issues are unhelpful; check out the actual facts for yourself by reading the case notes before accusing me of misleading people.

stuart
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by stuart » 26 Jun 2018 19:54

JRW wrote:I find it astonishing the number of people throwing around accusations, when they have not read the case documents, know the facts, and in some cases, not having even gone to look at the site. Generic class struggle comments projected onto these issues are unhelpful;
Indeed - so why are we still talking about them when they have no relevance to the issue in point?

As for those who know the site only too well - the lingering stink and pollution that blighted the whole of Bell Green (and much of Perry Hill) is something we would very much like to forget and remove. Forgive us if the romanticism of those that wish to retain the ironwork as a memory of those times doesn't gain much traction here.

The options are demolishing and make good use of the land - or retain them, for what and who pays the bill? That latter question hasn't been answered. I haven't seen a coherent case for retention. That's what is needed if you are really serious - petitions are no substitute.

Stuart

John H
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by John H » 26 Jun 2018 22:09

JRW wrote:Had you actually bothered to read up on the gas works, you would know that Bell Green was at the heart of an innovative model of workers having a profit share, and workers representation on the board of directors. This is the context to the Livesey Hall, built to commemorate a liberal, forward-thinking employer, who gave the space for workers to achieve their potential.

Workers clubbed together to raise the funds for a social club in Livesey's memory, and built it themselves. The terracotta facade and bricks were fired onsite, by the gasworks The dedication was to Livesey, but the hall was built for their own use. Projecting one's own political assumptions onto historical events is unhelpful, and says more about the commenter than it does about the facts.
I do not believe for one moment that those "workers" clubbed together to purchase the iron that is rusting away in Bell Green. Buildings that serve a purpose are worth preserving. Structures that are simply an "indulgence" for the chattering classes serve none but to appease guilty consciences.

My point was not about politics. It was about the nature of the people who campaign for the pointless and worthless but who are strangely silent when issues of great concern arise.

Pally
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Pally » 27 Jun 2018 06:46

stuart wrote:
As for those who know the site only too well - the lingering stink and pollution that blighted the whole of Bell Green (and much of Perry Hill) is something we would very much like to forget and remove. Forgive us if the romanticism of those that wish to retain the ironwork as a memory of those times doesn't gain much traction here.

The options are demolishing and make good use of the land - or retain them, for what and who pays the bill? That latter question hasn't been answered. I haven't seen a coherent case for retention. That's what is needed if you are really serious - petitions are no substitute.

Stuart
And spot on again Stuart

JRobinson
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JRobinson » 27 Jun 2018 10:33

John H wrote:...
...
However... there are hundred if not thousands of these ugly pieces of ironwork across the land.
actually that's rather the point here. There may have been thousands at one point in time, but as they are now redundant structures a lot of them have already disappeared. There number now is certainly only in the few hundreds.
given that they have an associated link to Livesy Hall, and I personally think that they're rather nice to look at, much nicer than 'retail sheds', I'd like to see them retained, reused, or repurposed. But I'm not an architect, or structural engineer, or urban designer. I have no idea what would or wouldn't work. Yes they might well not be structurally self sustaining, when the innards are removed (but I find that unlikely), so it might be that only some of the structure is retained, within, around, or alongside a new development - that would be acceptable to me. Complete destruction, and entire removal, with no signs at all afterwards of what used to be here, but imo but entirely unacceptable. Quite possibly if one side of any new structure had a mural or image of the gas holders on it, that might (might, but probably wouldn't) be enough, but I'd prefer at least some of the structure to remain.

nicknack
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by nicknack » 27 Jun 2018 10:45

JRobinson wrote:
John H wrote:...
...
However... there are hundred if not thousands of these ugly pieces of ironwork across the land.
actually that's rather the point here. There may have been thousands at one point in time, but as they are now redundant structures a lot of them have already disappeared. There number now is certainly only in the few hundreds.
given that they have an associated link to Livesy Hall, and I personally think that they're rather nice to look at, much nicer than 'retail sheds', I'd like to see them retained, reused, or repurposed.
Excellent point, there is a widespread policy to remove gasholders and there aren't huge numbers left. The ones next to Oval cricket ground were only saved as they were judged iconic as they had been on TV so many times in broadcasts of matches! Gasholders in Old Kent Road were demolished only last week. There are some in Bethnal Green also threatened, among many others. So it is a case of preserving industrial heritage, before it disappears. These gasholders are unique as they give the context & setting to the listed Livesey Hall. I also agree that they are much more visually appealing then retail sheds and car parks which is what is around them. But if people want to live in a land of retail sheds and car parks with no history left, that is what they will end up with. The bland anonymity of much of urban USA, and increasingly the UK.

JRW
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JRW » 27 Jun 2018 14:03

The same company, Scottish Power Networks, is also currently trying to demolish the iconic gasholder near the Millennium Dome. They will have to redo the credits for EastEnders! All over the country, gasholders are being removed, and the argument that 'there are loads of them about' will be hard to sustain.

I am afraid that only one gasholders at Oval has been saved. The Victorian Society are tweeting their disappointment at the recent announcement, as their removal will make the one being converted for housing less impressive.

JGD
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JGD » 27 Jun 2018 21:01

JRW wrote:
The same company, Scottish Power Networks, is also currently trying to demolish the iconic gasholder near the Millennium Dome. .........gasholders are being removed, and the argument that 'there are loads of them about' will be hard to sustain.

...The Victorian Society are tweeting their disappointment at the recent announcement, as their removal will make the one being converted for housing less impressive

.
Julia

It is Scotia Gas Networks - hence SGN.

And please do not miss the point about the sustainability of the argument to remove these redundant eyesores.

SGN cannot and will not report to its shareholders that it will permit a multi-million pound liability to remain on its books for the maintenance of redundant structures without responding with a comprehensive proposal to ensure these costs are eliminated by a plan to eradicate them from the national landscape.

As I have said before this Prior Notice is the most comprehensively complete submission I have seen for its type.

I suspect it has been prepared on a lessons learned basis by SGN's agents who have formulated a pro-forma approach to enable a comprehensive pre-prepared statement that addresses all anticipated issues that potential objectors may raise. If there are any omissions in their pro-forma they will quickly adapt. The format could be rolled out for every structure irrespective of its geographic location.

So if Lewisham, Greenwich, Lambeth et al find gaps - SGN will adapt and change. They are driven by a commercial imperative not to retain costs on their books that are related to redundant equipment and structures. And as Lewisham has acknowledged, they, as an authority, have no funds to pay for these structures' retention either.

Historic England has played its hand - it has chosen those gas holders that have adequacy in terms of uniqueness.in a national context and has elected to list and retain them. Bell Green gas-holders is not one of their choices.

JRobinson
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JRobinson » 29 Jun 2018 12:33

as it is clearly cost prohibitive to keep the entire structure as is, my preferred choice would be for them to be dismantled, and cleaned up, the site cleared, cleaned, and de-toxificated (if that's a word), then some new development, suitably none-bland, including affordable housing (properly affordable too) built to included some of the original gas holder structure in such as way as it to be visible, and obvious as to its previous use.

I don't see any reason why this can't be an achievable solution.

Growsydenham
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Growsydenham » 29 Jun 2018 20:06

When are we going to see some concrete proposals for the homes inside the gas holders that we hear about? I’d be strongly in favour, but I’ve not seen anyone come forward with a plan.

KPR
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by KPR » 30 Jun 2018 16:56

That’s because there is no such plan - it’s merely a pipe dream based on the idea that what worked in King’s Cross will work in Sydenham. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why the plan is not transferable - building inside gas holders (or rebuilding them around blocks of flats) would add very significantly to the costs of construction, and what you can get for flats in a rather unlovely part of Sydenham is nothing like what you can get in King’s Cross. No one is going to do it so forget it.

Personally I think the council should ignore objections to demolition from anyone who lives more than 1km away. Job done given that all the objectors live in Upper Sydenham.

stuart
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by stuart » 30 Jun 2018 17:24

KPR wrote:Job done given that all the objectors live in Upper Sydenham.
Really? I thought Mid-Syd is more to blame for this one.

Stuart

KPR
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by KPR » 30 Jun 2018 18:09

It’s either upper or lower in my book - upper is anywhere above the Mayow Road/Sydenham Road junction.

Pally
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Pally » 30 Jun 2018 20:33

JRobinson wrote:as it is clearly cost prohibitive to keep the entire structure as is, my preferred choice would be for them to be dismantled, and cleaned up, the site cleared, cleaned, and de-toxificated (if that's a word), then some new development, suitably none-bland, including affordable housing (properly affordable too) built to included some of the original gas holder structure in such as way as it to be visible, and obvious as to its previous use.

I don't see any reason why this can't be an achievable solution.
Sounds interesting! Especially the properly affordable!

mosy
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by mosy » 30 Jun 2018 21:07

I don't see that the metal work of a gasholder has any particular merit (even if it weren't rusting away) and neither is it representative since a metal drum was inside of course. The one in Lower Sydenham obscures what would otherwise be a lovely unimpeded view of the setting sun. (Hopefully any new buildings won't obliterate all of the view.)

To retain gasholder frames belies that they were never a good thing, being a purely utilitarian necessity which demanded allowing such polluting overbearing eyesores. I suspect "What was town gas?" would just receive blank looks from most today.

Also, "benevolence" by the gas board was largely due to the workers' union. The blue collar jobs were drudgery in awful and unhealthy conditions. So, it's rather like keeping chimneys with little children depicted as sent up to sweep them and declaring how cute they were, or keeping slag heaps because of their lovely mountainous shape.

Gasholder frames, however transformed, will be or become meaningless relics. I can well imagine kids in the future asking their parents what sort of invisible force field held the gas in and why store it above ground anyway if the world supply is now via pipelines (where no-one ever turns off the tap).

Tim Lund
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Tim Lund » 1 Jul 2018 11:08

mosy wrote:]if the world supply is now via pipelines (where no-one ever turns off the tap).
You sure about that?

Image

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/eu ... story.html

mosy
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by mosy » 1 Jul 2018 12:28

Tim Lund, I was referring to perception of course that kids or maybe even adults have that gas magically appears in our homes from underground pipes from deep-drilled mining ops somewhere in the world (which it does), not from the forgotten act of locally burning coal for which gasholders were built (together with associated furnaces).

I did suggest earlier a mini museum that would tell the whole story that would at least partly balance the current impetus by "keepers" that the holders be kept for their (questionable) beauty or aesthetic merit.

In the event that the holders are repurposed, it's more likely that the architects, developers and contractors will achieve much kudos and credit (and fees) so such developments will inevitably be deemed prestigious and costly and thus are likely to benefit investors rather than local (or would-be local) people either by housing or amenities. An amenity might be a visitor draw; fancy convoluted housing wouldn't be on my list of places for a day out.

JMLF
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by JMLF » 1 Jul 2018 22:26

I’m with Stuart and Pallyon this one. However from a seperate viewpoint I just wish/hope that people who for their own reasons do want to keep the gasholders have thought about what functional use they have for the community and what useful community projects may be more worthwhile putting the time/energy towards.
Case in point, People (including the Sydenham society) throwing time/effort behind The Greyhound and keeping The Post Office - both of which arguably could benefit a lot of people in the area. Keeping the gasholders - may benefit the well-being of some people who like what they look like and have some historical interest in things of the sort but as for the whole of Sydenham’s diverse population I very much doubt this will positively effect many let alone give a function. Putting that same energy into the hopeful upcoming “fun palace” event (google for info), transforming the community library into a better known/better utilised space, supporting more trees/plants on the high street (see other thread) are all things that I don’t think I’m stepping out of line by saying would definitely benefit more people who live locally then the gasholders remaining as they are with no plans to do anything with them. The reason I mention this, in case anyone points out that the gasholders are unrelated to other projects is that many of the people that do propel stuff in the community are doing things voluntarily (and hats off to them!) and I imagine are part of the Sydenham society and/or take part in a variety of things regarding local affairs. When time is taken up with one thing, it may be that the focus is there and not on other issues/projects. E.g.: I was told during the attempted mural project that the Sydenham society did have permission and funding for a mural project on the railside wall which was to be selected through a competition with local schools and pupils providing the art. Brilliant. However, this didn’t come to fruition as I was told (directly from the Sydenham society) that they had been busy with other matters and had to drop everything for the gasholders.

I just really think as a community far more good could come from time and efforts focussed elsewhere on functional projects which benefit not only a greater number of people but a wider range of people from the community.

Pally
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Re: Bell Green Gas Holders - Proposal to Demolish in April 2

Post by Pally » 2 Jul 2018 08:31

Very pertinent points JMLF!

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