PHOTOCALL: The final shipment of steel will be loaded to be moved off site at 11am on Tuesday 22 January. Meet at the Jackson Street entrance.
A significant local landmark has now finally disappeared from the skyline of St Helens.
For the past twelve months, engineers have been working to carefully dismantle the National Grid gas holder which stood in Jackson Street but which could be seen for miles around the town.
And it is with some regret that the team working on site this week loaded the final shipment of steel onto a truck, destined for the scrapyard.
The gas holder was built in 1972, stood 85m high and at, the time of its construction, was the largest gas holder of its kind in the UK with the capacity to store 3 million cubic feet of gas.
Demolishing the holder presented some real engineering challenges to contractors, Coleman and Company Limited.
Because the site on which the holder stood is surrounded by business premises and due to damage to the internal mechanism caused by a fire last year, they had to develop some ingenious techniques for taking the holder down, one piece at a time.
The roof of the holder was cut free and its weight was supported by cranes mounted on the upright pillars around the circumference of the holder. This was used as a working platform by engineers and was slowly lowered as they cut the holder down, section by section.
Keith Johnston, Commercial Property Manager said: "It is actually quite a sad day for us. The gas holder served the town of St Helens for decades, helping us make sure that local people had a safe and reliable supply of gas even though the coldest winters. The skyline doesn't look quite the same now that it has gone."
Paul Quance, Project Manager for Coleman and Company Limited said: "It has been an interesting project for us to work on and one which has really tested our powers of invention. We'll be waving off the final shipment of steel from the site with mixed feelings - relief to have completed the job as it has produced lots of unique challenges, but sadness too because the gas holder has played such an important part in people's lives for so long.
New techniques for storing gas have meant that National Grid no longer needs to use gas holders and the company is close to completing a programme to demolish the ones still remaining in the North West.
National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society - to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the centre of the energy system and we 'join everything up'.
In Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country. In the North Eastern US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles.
National Grid in the UK:
• We own the high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales, operating it across Great Britain
• We own and operates the high pressure gas transmission system in Britain
• Our gas distribution business delivers gas to 11 million homes and businesses
• We also own a number of related businesses including LNG importation, land remediation and metering
• National Grid manages the National Gas Emergency Service free phone line on behalf of the industry - 0800 111 999 (all calls are recorded and may be monitored).