England news March 3, 2016

Oval's gasholder granted listed status

ESPNcricinfo staff

The gasholder looms over an England fielding drill during the 2015 Ashes Test at The Oval Gareth Copley / © Getty Images

The future of the iconic Victorian gasholder outside The Oval in South London has been secured after the structure was granted Grade II listed status.

Gasholder No.1, as it was known when it was first built in 1847, was the largest of its type in the world before being rebuilt between 1877 and 1879, just before The Oval hosted the first Test match in England in 1880.

The wrought-iron structure was given protected status on account of its historical, architectural and technical background, as well as its importance to the landscape in the borough of Kennington.

"We consider our industrial heritage very carefully, and must be rigorous when assessing these once ubiquitous, now redundant, holders for listing," Emily Gee, head of designation at government heritage agency Historic England, told Surrey's website.

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

"It's impossible to imagine The Oval without being over looked by the gasholder," said Surrey chairman, Richard Thompson. "Its presence in Kennington is almost the guardian of our history and, whatever its future may hold, it is great news that it will remain intact as our most famous neighbour.

Heritage minister David Evennett added: "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."

In recent times, the gasholder has been used as a prominent advertising hoarding for major matches taking place at The Oval. A spokesman for English Heritage confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that the structure's listed status would not prevent such use in the future.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jeff on March 4, 2016, 22:08 GMT

    From when I was a kid, the structure was always known as the 'gasometer'. When did it merely become a 'gas holder'?

  • Peter on March 4, 2016, 0:13 GMT

    What fabulous news. That gasholder is the first thing that springs to mind when picturing the Oval. Industrial ugliness was never more bewitching, and it's lovely to know that this grand, defunct beast will continue to watch over some of cricket's great moments.

  • ian on March 3, 2016, 22:19 GMT

    Quite right! The Oval without the Gasholder would be unthinkable! I wouldn't mind if the pigeons moved on though!

  • Ray on March 3, 2016, 18:43 GMT

    Is there a more beautiful site in the world of cricket? (OK, there is!). It may be ugly but the Oval without the gasometer just wouldn't be right. Besides which, it is a reminder of London's past. And now pendant time: It's the district of Kennington - not borough. Kennington is in the borough of Lambeth.

  • Russell on March 3, 2016, 14:04 GMT

    It is an iconic structure - I'm glad it now has protection. It does add to a feeling of tradition - the ground has been developed over the years but the gas holder is the one constant which links back to previous generations. I can't imagine the ground without it. Nice to know that heritage will now be maintained for future generations

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