'I found my love by the gasworks croft...'
The massive gas holders on Liverpool Street that have become synonymous with Ewan MacColl's world famous song, Dirty Old Town, are to be demolished by the National Grid, with Salford City Council set to agree to the proposals, after secret meetings and, what the Grid calls, 'engagement with elected members'.
Demolition notices have been placed near the gas holders, and the Grid was advised by Council planning officers that even though the iconic landmarks are locally listed, this "designation does not afford protection to the structures".
The National Grid states in its application that the demolition is a "first step in preparing the site for future regeneration and more beneficial use..."
Salford City Mayor, Paul Dennett, has made a big play of how the surround wall of the structures would be 'saved' and 'celebrated' - but Dirty Old Town originally never mentioned a 'gasworks wall', as Ewan MacColl's wife Peggy Seeger, who sang the song many times with Ewan, confirmed to the Salford Star this morning...
"Don't tell the Council 'cause they'll probably demolish the wall if they know this" she joked, slating the unimaginative 'land-grabbers' who will see more of the city's heritage disappear...
"The gasworks skeleton, rusty or not, is magnificent" she said "If we didn't live in a land-grabbing commercial system, the gasworks scaffolding could have been strengthened and turned into latticework for climbing plants.
"The internal spaces could hold a maze, a secret garden, a cafe, trees…fountains… secret spaces to discover...somewhere unlike anywhere in the world" she added "Good for the environment and Salford's fresh air, and a magic place for children of any age..."
Salford Council was quite happy to splash £19million on the posh RHS Garden in Worsley but uses for the land – housing, retail or light industry - contained in the demolition proposal will see central Salford turned more and more into an unaffordable, urban concrete jungle.
Meanwhile, as the Salford Quays Cranes were demolished recently, and the Black Horse pub is being demolished now, more and more heritage is set to disappear, as Salford becomes Milton Keynes by the Irwell...
'We'll chop you down like an old dead tree...'
For loads of information about Ewan MacColl and the video of Dirty Old Town see the official website – click here
See also Salford Star's Ewan MacColl centenary special – click here