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.