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Re-enacting historic lunch at Granton gas holder


Members of the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM), as well as representatives from McLaughlin & Harvey and the City of Edinburgh Council, gathered in Granton Waterfront yesterday to re-enact a historic lunch which took place prior to the iconic Granton gas holder being put into use in 1901.

Historic records on the original lunch said that attendees were taken ‘by special train’ to a ‘special station’ built for the gasworks in Granton where more than 50 members were met by ‘the Edinburgh and Leith Gas Commissioner’. The documents go on to describe the gas holder as ‘a works that promises to be a model of structural beauty and mechanical ingenuity’.

The station mentioned in the documents is the former Granton Station which has been completely refurbished and will be managed from this year by social enterprise charity Wasps Studios, who work across Edinburgh and Scotland, to provide affordable workspace for artists and the creative industries. The newly created Granton Station Square in front of the building will also be host to events and local community activity events in the coming years. 

McLaughlin & Harvey Contracts Manager Graham Brown said, “We were delighted to host the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers at our Granton Gas Holder project to mark the luncheon held on-site back in 1901. The gas holder has an interesting and rich history which we are delighted to be adding to the next chapter of with our restoration works.”

IGEM CEO Ollie Lancaster said, “It’s a genuine delight to have the opportunity to visit such a special gas holder in Granton, Edinburgh, which has been used for many years to keep homes warm, put hot food on the table and power businesses in the region. This stunning landmark has played a significant contribution to balancing local energy supply and demand since it was commissioned, shortly after the 1901 luncheon my colleagues from yesteryear enjoyed. The gas industry has a rich history that we should celebrate, like we are doing today, while we also work hard to secure an affordable energy system for the future and develop the role of hydrogen in the transformation of our sector.”

Council leader Cammy Day said, “The gas holder is so much more than a giant steel structure and is steeped in local history. I’m really pleased that the industry is re-enacting the original lunch in this way creating another event for the history books. The gas holder can be seen for miles around so I’m very excited about our plans to transform it to serve the local community and visitors with a completely different purpose as a place for people to enjoy arts, sports, leisure and culture for years to come. We will make sure the gas holder becomes the centre piece of our wider £1.3bn regeneration of the area with thousands of environmentally friendly homes, well connected to the rest of city, culture and art spaces and more planned.”

Once completed the Gas Holder will be a new and exciting multifunctional public space with multi-sensory play zones, a dedicated space for permanent and temporary public art, a relaxation area, outdoor trails and tracks for exercise. As well as a large outdoor space for sports, markets, seasonal events, community use, festivals, performance arts, and exhibitions.