6 - 9pm, Thursday 15th Jun
Richard Chivers - OFF-Grid
Since the Victorian era, circular gas holders became commonplace industrial icons on our urban skylines. The design of vast telescoping tanks to store coal (town) gas was at the vanguard of civil engineering. They represented a modernising Britain, and for three decades after World War II were visible icons of our nationalised utilities, metal symbols for a vital infrastructure held in common for the public good.
In 1965, North Sea natural gas was discovered. The UK supply network was converted from coal gas, and gas holders were only required for additional storage. As network capacity grew, gas holder utilisation dwindled. By the 1990s they were redundant; widespread dismantling of the metal giants began in 2000.
Architectural photographer Richard Chivers has spent eight years capturing these iconic structures before they disappear.
Many have distinctive and intricate designs, each slightly different. Although defunct, those remaining continue to act as prominent landmarks, provoking a debate about their preservation and reuse. They are a reminder of our industrial heritage, a communal architectural experience that provokes awe in a way that few other structures inspire.