Dramatic ‘deconstruction’ of the Granton gas holder bell in Edinburgh

The bell that floated to the surface when water filled the historic gas holder at Granton Waterfront has been dismantled to make room for work to restore the original 76 x 46 meter frame.

Edinburgh City Council plans to open up the area to create a “new and multifunctional public space” as part of its wider £1.3billion regeneration project to create a “new sustainable seaside town” on the Granton Waterfront.

McLaughlin & Harvey began work on the site on behalf of the Council in January, using £16.4million from the UK Government’s Leveling Up Fund. The Scottish Government has also committed an additional £1.2million to create a public park within the gas storage facility.

HeraldScotland: The view from above across the Firth of ForthThe view from above across the Firth of Forth (Image: Edinburgh City Council)

The space inside the restored gas storage facility is designed to provide multi-sensory play zones, a dedicated permanent and temporary public art space, a relaxation area, outdoor exercise paths and lanes, and a large outdoor space for sports, markets, seasonal events, etc. Community use, festivals, performing arts, exhibitions and theatre.

In addition, tree, shrub and wildflower planting works will be undertaken to enhance biodiversity and local habitat in the area.

READ MORE: Edinburgh’s ‘eyesore’ gas storage facility to be reinvented as tourist attraction for £16.4million

Cammy Day, Council President, said: “It was really dramatic to see the bell being torn apart by the machine.”

“It was a historic moment as this iconic structure is now being transformed to move with the times and serve a completely different purpose for the local community, which is to enjoy arts, sports and culture for future generations.”

HeraldScotland: How the tourist attraction could take shapeHow the tourist attraction could take shape (Image: Edinburgh City Council)

“Now that the bell is gone, the contractor can continue with the exciting work of restoring the frame to its original glory that will be seen for miles.”

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Dehenna Davison, UK Government Minister for Leveling Up, said: “The Granton gas storage facility has been part of the Edinburgh skyline for over 120 years and will soon be brought back to life as a true commons.”

“Removing the bell will ensure the structure can be restored to its former glory while bringing the space into the 21st century by making it a place to visit for families, residents and future generations.

“We are delighted to have supported this project with £16.4m from the UK Government’s Leveling Up Fund, which will ensure that this iconic structure will serve as a beacon for the people of the region for many years to come.”

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Seamus Devlin, McLaughlin & Harvey’s director of civil engineering, said the company was “delighted to be the prime contractor for the restoration work on the Granton gas storage facility.”

He said: “We bring a wealth of experience in the civil engineering sector and look forward to completing the dismantling of the bell this week and the demolition of the walls in the coming weeks.”

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