Historic Edinburgh gas tower set to be turned into one of Scotland's biggest works of art

It has been an iconic fixture on Edinburgh’s waterfront for more than a century - but now an historic industrial landmark is set to be turned into one of Scotland’s biggest works of art.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 6:00 am
The Granton Gasholder on Edinburgh's waterfront has been out of use for nearly 20 years.

The Victorian-era Granton Gasholder has been lined up for a dramatic transformation by a sound and light show under a £150,000 project being developed by the city council and Edinburgh College, which is based on part of the site of the former gasworks.

Artists, designers and students are expected to team up to give the B-listed structure a new lease of life with a spectacular sound and light show - nearly 20 years after the gasometer was last in use.

It is hoped that the project would also have a”lasting legacy” for the area, which was transformed in the late 19th century when the Granton Gasworks were built after other sites in the Old Town, Leith and Portobello reached capacity.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The gasometer, which is 252 ft wide and 157 ft tall, is one of three originally built for the gasworks, and dates back to 1903. It would be illuminated at night for at least two years under plans due to be discussed today by councillors, who are expected to approve the spending of £100,000 on the project, subject to £50,000 being secured from other funders.

Council officials say the disused structure would become a “provide a highly visible and beautiful landmark and a point of connection” at the heart of efforts to revamp the Granton waterfront.

It would also create a new cultural attraction in Granton, close to where the National Galleries of Scotland is creating a new £75 million collection centre to help safeguard the future of the country’s most important art treasures.

Council culture leader Donald Wilson said: “One of our key priorities is to kick-start regeneration in north Edinburgh. With our partners we’re working on the development of a vibrant, well connected city quarter with new housing, quality jobs and infrastructure for our current and future residents.

“Whilst planning and discussions are at an early stage, it looks to be a very exciting scheme. Working with Edinburgh College, we hope to produce something truly special.”

Jakki Jeffery, the college’s head of creative industries, said: “We’re excited to be involved in this project, which would represent a fantastic opportunity for our students to develop their skillsets by working on a live project hoped to be enjoyed by the area’s residents of the area, the wider community and visitors.”

Terry Levinthal, director of the Cockburn Association heritage body, which previously campaigned to save the gasholder from demolition, said: “Temporary installations can be a very successful way of promoting industrial architecture and heritage.

"The key is to be discreet and respectful of the surrounding communities, and to ensure that suitable interpretation is in place to help expand the appreciation of these feats of engineering.”