Lonely Planet Writer

The Oval's historic gasholder granted protected status

A Victorian gasholder which has formed the backdrop to Test cricket for more than 130 years has been given protected status.

The Oval cricket ground and gasometer.
The Oval cricket ground and gasometer. Image by secretlondon123 / CC BY-SA 2.0

“Gasholder No 1”, which stands next to The Oval cricket ground in Kennington, London, has been listed at Grade II, the Government has announced.

The structure, the world’s largest gasholder when it was built, was first constructed in 1847 and was rebuilt in 1877-79 ahead of the first Test match in England, played at the Oval in 1880.

Gasholder No 1 is an early example of using wrought-iron to construct the frame which allows it to double its capacity, and the decision to list it was made on the grounds of its historical, technical and architectural interest and for its importance in the landscape.

Heritage Minister David Evennett said: “A lot of cricket fans will recognise this structure which provides an iconic backdrop to a world-famous cricket ground.

“It is also an important part of London’s Victorian history, which is why I’m very pleased it will be protected for years to come.”

Emily Gee, head of designation at Government heritage agency Historic England – which made the recommendation to list the gasholder, said the structure marked an important moment in gasholder technology.

And she said: “It provides a distinctive backdrop to the Oval cricket ground and its image has long been broadcast around the world.

“We consider our industrial heritage very carefully, and must be rigorous when assessing these once ubiquitous, now redundant holders for listing.

“It is unlikely that many more will be listed, but we are delighted that this special one is now listed at Grade II.”

(Press Association)