Oxted Gasholder- Courtyard Gardens - February 2019

The end of the day during the start of the dismantling process.

The end of the day during the start of the dismantling process.

Welcome to my second blog about the dismantling of the Oxted Gasholder in preparation for a new housing development by St. William Homes called Courtyard Gardens.

As many of you already know Oxted has been the home of SMS Creative Photography since February 1997 and the home of the gasholder for decades!

For those of you who don’t know where the gasholder is, it currently resides behind the studio, but not for much longer…

Over the course of the 2.5 year project my aim is to capture a photojournalistic viewpoint for posterity and to satisfy my own creative curiosity, my monthly blogs will give you a small insight into the process.

Here are some interesting progress facts about what has happened so far and what we can expect;

The site was cleared at ground level by removing trees, shrubs and the small out buildings, the levelling of the ground was in preparation for the delivery of the mobile crane which arrived on Sunday 3 February at 8am to a small waiting crowd.

Demolition will be done by two operatives working from a basket attached to the mobile crane. They will systematically cut small sections of the gasholder piece by piece which will then be contained within the gasholder prior to removal from site in skips, with demolition due for completion in May 2019.

Following completion of the demolition the next activity will be to commence the groundworks and piling in preparation to build 3 blocks that will house the 111 homes within the completed development.

In order to prepare the site for the concrete structure to be built for all 3 blocks within the development, the equivalent volume of nearly 3 Olympic sized swimming pools of soil will need to be taken away!

Even more fascinating to know;

The first structures on the site including the gasworks are shown from 1896 on OS maps.

There were previously three gasholders on the site, two have since been demolished but the concrete bases remain. The existing decommissioned 30m gasholder sits over the footprint of the former gas generation plant.

It really is huge!

It really is huge!

I recently went on-site to get up close and personal to see just what does the inside of a gasholder look like! Believe me when I say it is huge and pretty overwhelming too, having observed it from afar for so long it was daunting to have the opportunity to virtually step inside it! The photograph above of me posing in front of the gaping hole gives you some idea of the scale.

This plaque sits at the bottom of the gasholder with a date of 1967 on the clip right of centre.

This plaque sits at the bottom of the gasholder with a date of 1967 on the clip right of centre.

The arrival of a 60 tonne crane early on the morning of Sunday 3 February attracted a small crowd to witness the occasion.

The works taking place on Station Road East outside the studio is the final part of the removal of the electricity sub station which previously sat in the grounds of the gasholder. This sub station has a new home at the council offices, at the bottom end of Station Road East on the opposite side of the road, the cables have to be redirected from underneath number 85, next door to the studio, and fed under the road and down to the new sub station, the process once complete should be about 4 weeks.

The images above show the progress so far.

Two operatives working from a basket attached by a mobile crane to systematically cut pieces of the gasometer.

Two operatives working from a basket attached by a mobile crane to systematically cut pieces of the gasometer.

That’s it for this month, please join me next month for the next instalment, in the meantime I’ll be out and about capturing new imagery to reflect on in years to come.

To read my first blog about the process please click here.

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Thanks for reading!

Stella