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Report - - Gas Holder No.1 (JUMBO) - East Greenwich Gas Works, London 2015. | Noteworthy Reports |

Report - Gas Holder No.1 (JUMBO) - East Greenwich Gas Works, London 2015.

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Staff member

Gas Holder No.1 (JUMBO) - East Greenwich Gas Works


I first visited here with Adders/Gabe in 2015 and although I've been back since I didn't bother to take my camera on follow up visits, just cans..

East Greenwich Gas Works was a huge organisation with many departments. It was built under the auspices of the South Metropolitan Gas Company's chairman George Livesey from 1881.

South Met. were based in the Old Kent Road and had achieved a premier position in the gas world under their charismatic chair, George Livesey. In the 1870s inner city gas companies were encouraged to build works outside of the inner city – this was South Met’s super works.

No other Gas Works had been built in London since East Greenwich and it therefore remains the most modern works ever built here, it was built with the highest aspirations and embodied the highest possible standards of the latest of absolutely everything!

Occupying most of the east and centre of the peninsula, stretching for around 2 kilometres from Blackwall Point, southeast towards New Charlton and covering some 240 acres.

The site had two very large gas holders. The first, built in 1886 and of 8,600,000 cubic feet (240,000 m3) was the world's first 'four lift' (moving section) the holder acquired the nickname "Jumbo".

A second holder, with six lifts and originally the largest in the world at 12,200,000 cubic feet (350,000 m3), was reduced to 8,900,000 cubic feet (250,000 m3) when it was damaged in the Silvertown TNT explosion in 1917.

It was still the largest in England until it was damaged again by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb in 1979 and was later demolished 6 years later.

Gasholder No 1 (Jumbo) is a typical example of its type, a development of George Livesey’s cylindrical shell design, first used at the Old Kent Road gasworks.

  • DETAILS - Built in 1884-1888 by the engineer Frank Livesey and contractors Ashmore, Benson and Pease for the South Metropolitan Gas Company. The tank was constructed by Dowcra and Sons.

  • TANK - Constructed by Dowcra and Sons. Repaired following an explosion in 1917, after the Second World War, and following an IRA bomb attack in 1979.

    Formed of concrete
    77m in diameter
    14m depth
    Set into an earth embankment
    A set of concrete steps, flanked by walls terminating in piers with triangular concrete caps, ascend the embankment
    The lip of the tank rising about 4m above the original ground level

  • HOLDER - Gasholder No. 1 is a frame-guided holder with a capacity of 8.2 million cu ft; at that time the largest in the world.

    28 wrought-iron standards, supporting six-tiers of horizontal members
    Five lower tiers of struts of a riveted cruciform-section, and a top girder
    Guide frame 54m in height
    Fully telescoped the whole structure is over 60m
    The standards are I-section plate girders
    Three sets of diagonal braces of flat wrought-iron bars, sloped at 1:1 and 1:2, forming intersecting helices
    The taller sets of bars weave between the inner and outer faces of the standards where they are riveted to gusset plates, whilst the shallower sets are placed alternately on opposite faces
    The top girder forms a walkway and has a steel handrail attached to the outside edge
    Paddon wind ties of steel wire rope support the top of the frame
    A four-lift metal bell (probably of iron with repairs in steel) with an un-trussed crown rises on both radial and tangential rollers from an in-ground tank
    Guide rails for the bell are riveted to the inside edge of the standards
    The guide frame is surrounded by a low concrete wall with matching piers
    A plaque on the holder commemorates a fatal accident in 1909




The world's first 'four lift' (moving section) holder


Heading up, and admiring the beauty




The views aren't bad either


Sadly and despite many petitions, work has now begun to dismantle East Greenwich’s historic gasholder which has dominated the local skyline for 130 years

Work has been taking place since April, but it has progressed at a slower pace than expected because of problems draining the water from the structure, because of limited capacity in the local sewer system

Three bays of the distinctive frame will be retained which will be about six or seven metres high. Aside from these remains, demolition is expected to finish early next year


S.G.N, which owns the gasholder, has already removed the metal sheeting on the gasholder’s crown, exposing the wooden framework beneath


I'll be back...


Staff member
As promised I managed to nip back as demo is well underway, sad to see Jumbo finally suffer at the hands of the mighty gas axe
F.U Erith.




Some heavy plant on site to deal with the hot work/lifting/cutting



Here, you can see the 14m in-ground tank structure


Outta here, for now...


mockney reject

Staff member
Gutting :(

It really was a sad moment when we were all stood there looking at the demise what was possibly the greatest gasholder in Europe

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Tis gutting. Great shots on original post. For anyone interested, the one near me, has its palisade fencing down at mo, for work to be done. There is bent heras fencing in place and 2 very obvious darleks facing each other.


Staff member
So "essential work" continues demolishing the old boy during lockdown, just 9 standards left now looking at recent pics, not been able to mobilize for any of my own and sadly it'll be gone before weekend :(

Rest in pieces Jumbo


Mockney Reject/Seffy/Rapid Ascent



Staff member
RIP - wiv da angels now :(

A good send off for one of the most notable gas holders in the country, or Europe even!


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Ain't you lot going to get banned from 28dl for going out i saw admin banned someone the other day and loads of comments about how noone should be out during lockdown yet you guys have colour on your names which mean your admin so how come you guys are allowed out without criticism?

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