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Report - Gas Holder no 7, London 2011

kevin arnold

28DL Member
Regular User
#1
Visited on my own, then with Za Gringo.

This rigid gas holder (no. 7) on the 2 hectare Battersea Gasworks site in London can store up to 186,000 cubic metres of gas beneath an oil-sealed piston. It was built to the MAN design in 1930-32. Unlike water-sealed gasholders, the tank does not expand and contract with the amount of gas contained. Thus, the 90 m (295 ft) cylinder is a prominent feature next to the rail line into Victoria station, rivalling the chimneys of the nearby (disused) Battersea Power Station.
(info taken from here)

Gasholder no 7 aka "that blue tank next to the Battersea Power Station". You know which one. A while ago I was thinking of posting a BPS report. I love that place but have never actually posted a single picture of it on 28DL. Some time later I re-visited with Forsaken and finally got some postable pictures as I'd bought better lenses since my earliest visits. What I wanted was a nice outside shot of the power station to start a report with. That's when I thought of the nearby gasholder. I hoped it would provide nice views of the station and the river. It did but it also had much more to offer.


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The place is a bit tricky to access. If you plan to visit please don't jump over the main gate, there are PIRs on the fence over there which may or may not be working. The gasholder is decomissioned but someone definitely lives in the house in the gasworks grounds, probably some sort of security. Once you find your way over the perimeter wall with barb wire there's more fences and more barb wire inside.


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Then you have to face the steepest, most exhausting stairs ever. But the views are worth it.


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Blue


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That's the picture that I originally wanted.


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Some time later I revisited with Za Gringo.

We soon discovered that if we only made an effort we'd be able to get inside of the tank. We didn't really know what to expect. We thought that the tank would simply have some sort of double ceiling with a few meters of space between the outer and inner shell. A second (better) possibility was that there would be walkways inside and an open space below filled with oil/water. At the time I thought it was used to store oil, not gas, as it smelled of oil and wasn't airtight. I deliberately didn't do any research on the place so as not to spoil the surprise :)

A week later we found ourselves on the roof again... and we stepped inside, into the darkness that smelled of oil. I expected walkways inside and we found them alright. The biggest shock came when we started shining our torches down and realised that there was nothing there. No floor, no oil, just 90 meters of pitch black void.


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Shock and awe


Second surprise was that there was actually a staircase there. Suspended from the ceiling and disappearing into the darkness beneath our feet. I hope Za Gringo will be able to describe it properly as I just lack words in English for it :) "Staircase of doom" is the only term that comes to my mind.

I was really having second thoughts about using it. I also started to regret not doing any research on the place after all. At least I would have known how long it had been decomissioned and rusting away. Za Gringo was the one who first stepped over the 90m drop and onto the steps. I waited for a while to see if the whole thing doesn't collapse and crush him to death ;) Then I followed.


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After a few minutes we started to see the bottom of the tank more clearly.


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I breathed a sigh of relief when we touched the floor. We had a look around, then it was pictures time.


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In the beginning I didn't understand how the tank could be used to store gas if seemingly it wasn't airtight. Later I realised that as the holder filled with gas the whole floor we stood on would move upwards! Obviously that's why the staircase was so flimsy and attached to the ceiling only. As the floor moved upwards, the staircase would begin to fold.


A few details​

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And then back the same way!


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EPICZ
 
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