Last month, the Salford Star revealed that a demolition team had moved onto the site of the gasworks on Liverpool Street in Ordsall to begin the year long task of dismantling them, after Salford City Council gave planning permission to the National Grid (see previous article – click here).
Since the news broke, two petitions have been launched to try and get the National Grid to save the structures and revamp them into something iconic, as has happened in London and other cities, where old gas holders have been converted for new uses (see here).
The Ordsall gasworks were made famous in Ewan MacColl's song, Dirty Old Town... 'I found my love by the gasworks croft...'. MacColl's wife, Peggy Seeger, was horrified when she learned of the demolition, accusing 'land grabbers' of profiting from the strategic and profitable site near MediaCityUK...
"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..."
Now the local community, who want to see the iconic structures saved, are beginning to mobilise. On hearing the news, musician and artist, Tony Easom, took his guitar down to the site and filmed himself playing Dirty Old Town, which has had over 37,000 views on Facebook (see here).
Now Tony is expanding the idea, inviting everyone down to the site next Sunday 17th June at 2pm for a communal singsong and instrument jam...
"There will be a few of us with acoustic instruments to lead the song, others can bring instruments to join in as a big jam, or just come along and sing" he says "I am sure people will want to have it recorded on phones too.
"It's a way of saying farewell to the old place; a part of history" he adds "Bring an instrument, spoons, rattles or just your good selves and sing your heart out with us. Let's have a communal jam session of this great song before they tear it down, or hopefully revamp the old girl..."
Revamping the locally listed structures is what Katrina Bell is after. She's launched a petition, 'A last attempt to tempt investors to revamp the gasworks...Please think outside the box for a new use of a Salford heritage site'...
"These gasworks have been part of Salford for generations" she explains "The Council and National Grid have been secretive about what their plans are for this site, and no doubt the site will be used for unaffordable houses or apartments.
"It's like every little piece of land that is unattended is being used for development" she adds "And we are losing a lot of parks, old buildings and historic sites."
Tony points out that next Sunday is also Father's Day... "What a way to celebrate it" he says "Include your kids in something like this and say goodbye to a metaphorical father who's looked over us for so many generations...before it's torn down or renovated..."
Community Songs and Instrument Jam
Sunday 17th June 2pm
Salford Gasworks, Liverpool Street
The actual event will take place on West Egerton Street at the side of the gasworks M54B
*To sign Katrina's petition – click here
*To sign Tony's petition – click here
See also previous Salford Star article – click here