I’d rather keep them than replace them with another bland warehouse. But would rather they were used to create something better. The Gas Holder no.8 ‘park’ at King’s Cross is a good example, but of course this relied on cash from property developers, who had them dismantled, reconditioned and reassembled in new locations. The others surround housing developments, creating a frame around towers.
It’s interesting that the Livesey Memorial Hall, on the same site has been listed for it’s architectural and historic role. https://historicengland.org.uk/.../the.../list-entry/1253110
“HISTORY. Much of the building work was carried out by the Gas Company itself George Thomas Livesey, knighted in 1902, initiated many technical improvements in the design of gas holders. He was the builder of the Greenwich Gas Works (1883) and was a pioneeer of Co-partnership (profit-sharing) within the industry.”
The towers are the last remnants of the actual site. They may be ‘ugly’, but beauty is not necessarily an important factor in whether something is historically significant. They are also, in part, ‘ugly’ because they are still sitting there as they were when they were used and not reconditioned or looked after. Although some towers have been listed, they are undoubtedly becoming rarer, and will probably be seen in a different light by future generations. I also like the use of the chimney stacks at Ikea in Croydon, which have become landmarks for those seeking Ikea (and also preserved for the future in the process).
It seems to me that there is an opportunity to create something of significance here, perhaps involving the Livesey Memorial Hall, which appears to be used for parties and community meetings at the moment, and looks quite tired. How about some sort of museum focusing on the gas industry and the role of the site. The gas towers could be adapted in some way so that they can be ascended for views of the city, perhaps even used to generate renewable energy (solar/ wind) to tie in with the theme of the site. A park for children could carry a similar theme and the Livesey Hall could be a museum and education centre. Just an idea and of course it would require some sort of funding, but would spruce up the area, provide jobs and perhaps put Sydenham on the map in a positive way.
Just a thought.