The transformation of an industrial landmark in Edinburgh into a tourist attraction has reached a “historic moment”.
The bell that floated up as water filled the historic gasholder in Granton Waterfront has been taken apart to make way for work to begin to restore the original 76 x 46-metre frame.
It comes amid plans from the City of Edinburgh Council to transform land at the iconic gas holder into a new city park – including a space to host future outdoor events.
Council leader Cammy Day described it as a “historic moment”.
He said: “It was really dramatic to see the bell being ripped apart by the machinery.
“It marked a historic moment as this iconic structure will be transformed now to move on with the times to serve a completely different purpose for the local community to enjoy arts, sports and culture for future generations to come.
“Now the bell has gone the contractor can get on with the exciting work to transform the frame back to its original glory which will be seen for miles around.
“The scale and ambition of the gasholder nicely mirrors that of this £1.3bn regeneration project where we are using brownfield land to build a new sustainable 20-minute neighbourhood which is well linked to surrounding communities and is somewhere residents will be proud to live.
“We’ve already started building some of the thousands of environmentally friendly affordable homes planned and active travel routes, along with recently completing the restoration of the former Granton Station building to become a modern workplace and cultural hub, with public square.”
Construction firm McLaughlin & Harvey began work on the site in January, using £16.4m of funding from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund, while the Scottish Government has provided an additional £1.2m to provide a “high quality” public park within the gasholder frame.
UK government minister for Levelling Up, Dehenna Davison, said: “The Granton gasholder has been part of Edinburgh’s skyline for over 120 years, and will soon be brought back to life as a real community asset.
“The bell’s removal will ensure the structure can be restored to its former glory, whilst the space will be brought into the 21st Century by becoming a destination for families, residents, and future generations to enjoy.
“We’re delighted to have supported this project through £16.4 million from the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund which will ensure this iconic structure will serve as a beacon to people in the area for many years to come.”
Seamus Devlin, McLaughlin & Harvey Civil engineering director, said: “McLaughlin & Harvey is delighted to be main contractor for the restoration works at Granton gasholder.
“We bring with us a wealth of experience in the civil engineering sector, and look forward to completing the deconstruction of the bell this week and the removal of the walls in the upcoming weeks.”