Paint it grey in Cross Gates

She's a grand old lady of Cross Gates - and she's about to get a much deserved makeover. Click here to watch a picture slideshow of the paint job in progress & views from the top!

But the Cross Gates gas holder's smart new look will be anything but colourful - as every inch of the 120 ft structure is to be painted a rather ordinary shade of grey.

The gas holder is of Leeds' biggest – and oldest - industrial landmarks.

Specialist painters are donning their overalls for a makeover which will require 3,500 litres (770 gallons) of paint.

The 120ft tall steel structure, built in 1947, is the oldest gas tower in the city and remains a vital part of the local gas supply system, making sure there's enough gas to go round even in the coldest winters.

United Utilities looks after all Northern Gas Networks' mains and equipment in Yorkshire including the Cross Gates tower.

Spokesman, Graeme Liddell, said the work would be carried out by contractors Pyeroy as part of a 482,000 gasholder painting programme across the whole Northern Gas Networks area.

Other gas holders getting a full paint job are in Hull and North Shields, while many more will be partially painted.

The total amount of paint being used is 12,500 litres or 2,750 gallons.

"Like any piece of equipment, these huge gasholders need to be maintained to keep them in tip top working order. The Cross Gates holder is 60 years old but is still working just as well as it did on the day it was built," said Graeme.

The Cross Gates' gas holder, on Back Marshall Street, can store almost 800,000 cubic feet of gas – enough to supply 1,000 homes for a full day, or 24,000 homes for an hour.

Built by Leeds firm Clayton, Son and Company its column-guided design includes three separate massive 112ft diameter sections which lift telescopically as the holder fills with gas.

Chris Gorman, network director for Northern Gas Networks, said the gas giant was one of the town's unsung treasures.

"When it's cold we need the gas it stores to get us through the peaks in demand at certain times of the day. For instance, first thing in the morning or early in the evening when everyone gets home from work and switches their heating on.

"People in Leeds have a lot to thank it for," he said.

Work started on the holder's crown (roof) in July while the structure was empty. The holder will then lift section by section so painters can do as much as possible near ground level.

The whole project is expected to take until the end of September.