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Next month (August) the north of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks, will be beginning work to dismantle St Mark’s gas holder in Hull, and will use art and photography to capture the historic industrial architecture, ensuring that it is never forgotten.

St Mark’s is a 106ft (32.6m) tall, steel construction built in 1898 and could store up to two million cubic feet of gas – enough to supply 2,400 homes for a full day, or 57,000 homes for an hour.

For over a hundred years the holder was a vital part of the local gas supply system, responsible for supplying gas to thousands of residents in the area. In more recent years it has been used to bolster the networks gas supplies during colder weather, at peak times in the early evenings. Advances in technology and the enhanced capability of the modern-day gas network, however, mean that this gas holder is no longer required and it was decommissioned in August 2010.

Main works contractor Coleman & Company Ltd will commence work on the former gasworks site on Monday, 12th August, using tried and tested techniques to clear the site in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Long-armed shears will be used to take apart the structure and the site will be cleared of all redundant equipment. The work will take approximately 17 weeks to complete.

Tim Harwood, Programme Manager Major Projects said; “The decision has been made to dismantle St Mark’s gas holder as it no longer serves a purpose in maintaining gas supplies to the local area. The ongoing costs of keeping the gas holder in good repair have become economically unviable.”

As part of the deconstruction work, a number of environmental initiatives are being considered such as treating and solidifying the oily sludge that has settled at the bottom of the gasholder tank, recycling all the steel and cast iron from the gasholder and re-using the spoil dug up from Northern Gas Networks essential gas mains replacement works in the area, to backfill the site. This helps to reduce Northern Gas Networks’ carbon footprint, saving trips to landfill sites and the need to import expensive stone from local quarries.

Mick Hand, Artist in Residence for Northern Gas Networks said; “We understand that the gas holder is a local landmark which has been in place for over a hundred years, so documenting it through photography and art means that the history of the site will be preserved for future generations.”

Mick added; “We would like to encourage local residents or workers to share their memories and photographs of the gas holder with us by emailing gasholdermemories@northerngas.co.uk or contacting us through Facebook or Twitter.

“We will be capturing these memories along with sketches, illustrations, paintings, original hand mechanical drawings and photos in a special commemorative book to ensure they are never forgotten.”

The best memory we receive will win a prize – a series of Mick Hand’s sketches of St Mark’s gas holder.

St Mark’s gas holder was built by Clayton Son & Co of Leeds, its column-guided design includes three separate massive 152ft diameter sections which lift telescopically as the holder fills with gas.

The UK’s gasholders were originally built to store gas made from coal at a local gasworks. With the discovery of North Sea gas, the gas holders increasingly became redundant and were eventually phased out as new gas pipelines were laid to supply gas to homes. St Mark’s was used to store natural gas until 2010 when it was decommissioned and has remained unused ever since.

For further information about this project, please contact our Customer Care team on 0845 634 0508 and select option 7.

About Northern Gas Networks

Northern Gas Networks own all the gas mains in the North East, most of Yorkshire and northern Cumbria transporting gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses.

The network consists of 37,000km of gas mains, enough to stretch from Leeds to Sydney, Australia and back.

Our mains replacement programme will see 3,800km of old metal gas main replaced with modern plastic equivalents by 2021.