Bovisa gas works – Milan – June 2019

Help Support Derelict Places:

mockney reject

Regular Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
338
Reaction score
1,939


The History


Construction of the large Bovisa gas works started in 1905, and it, along with its gasometers, has come to be a distinctive symbol of Milan. Enclosed in the teardrop-shaped railway yard, the area and its neighbouring district have been subject to various redevelopment projects, including the locating of some campuses of the Milan Polytechnic, though the gasometer site is still being studied to develop the reclamation and repurposing projects.

In Milan, the first plant to manufacture gas for public lighting was built in 1845 near Porta Ludovica, a few steps away from the Spanish Walls. The City of Milan initially contracted out the plant’s management to an engineer from Lyon, Achille Guillard, and in 1863, after various changes of ownership, the French company Union des Gaz bought out the entire gas works and its contracts.

Although towards the close of the nineteenth century the introduction of electrical energy and its increasing applications in the field of illumination had given rise to new and vigorous competition, private consumption of gas for heat and illumination grew, as did the use of gas for industrial purposes.

It was in this context that, starting in 1905, Union des Gaz launched the construction of a large gas works in the Bovisa quarter. The vast structure, spread over a territory of 450 thousand square meters, was to supplement the old Porta Lodovica gas works and the smaller plants at Porta Nuova (1870) and Porta Venezia (1880).

Inaugurated in 1908, the plant ran Italy’s largest gasometer, an 80-thousand square-meter “Cutler”. Parallel to the new coal gasification batteries, a large heating plant was built along with the first pressure room and the mechanical workshop, structures that can still be seen there today and have been heritage listed.

When World War I broke out, the expansion project ground to an abrupt halt, and it was not until the Società Gas e Coke Milano took over ownership in the twenties, that it was resumed, with the construction of new distillation chambers. When the Edison Company came onto the scene in 1934, the plant reached full autonomy, becoming the largest gas works in Europe.

After World War II, the plants were modernized for the first time: in 1952, a system for the Semet Solvay diluent gas was installed, donated by the United States thanks to the Marshall Plan.

The sixties marked a turning point in the history of the gas works: in 1962, the increase in demand and the limited yield of coal forced the company to develop new reforming systems using liquid petroleum distillate, while in 1969, the by-then obsolete distillation chambers were decommissioned and then demolished.

In 1981, the prospect of a natural gas supply service prompted the City of Milan to revoke its concession and entrust the distribution of gas to the Azienda elettrica municipale (AEM). From this time on, AEM embarked on a campaign to bring natural gas to the city, concluded in 1994 with the closing down of the Bovisa’s old facilities.

A transitory backdrop for television broadcasts and cultural events, as well as the scenario for several recovery plans and policy agreements, the gasometer area is presently in a sort of limbo: the site is still heavily burdened by the costs of its clean up. Today, a part of the area and the adjacent neighbourhood have undergone various redevelopment projects, including the locating of some campuses of the Milan Polytechnic, but the gasometer site still awaits a clear and coherent repurposing plan.

The Explore

Another one from myself and RA’s whistle stop tour of Northern Italy.
Now we only really intended to climb the gas holders here but then @camerashy posted up a report on this place and after confirming it was the same place a spanner was removed from the works and we made our way around the huge site

But first

The Gas

48097089856_d8fa37d8a4_b.jpg


Both of the holders here are pretty cool, they are a pair of water-sealed frame type gasholders. One made by Samuel Cutler of London and dates from 1905 and the other is a Klönne-dating from 1930 and both have four lifts.

The taller one has had a hole crudely gas axed in the side to allow you to have a look inside.

48097088176_fa9bff79c7_b.jpg


It was quite interesting inside, someone has constructed a bridge over to the middle and it was evident it had been host to a few parties. There was also what appeared to be an old raft inside it too.

48097130173_e7282dd176_b.jpg


48097129553_79a1a00811_b.jpg


But it was the views from the top we came for.

48097185607_6989daef4e_b.jpg


48097084276_d892c0131d_b.jpg


48097180727_7af27e686f_b.jpg


48097120748_c4bd3b32a7_b.jpg


Now that’s out of the way let’s get on with the rest of the site.

The main gates

48097092721_303abc5464_b.jpg


The original office building

48097170522_a2472d7092_b.jpg


Some of the many many buildings and things to see on the huge site

48097110958_d455f5edfb_b.jpg


48097108258_b3caedd436_b.jpg


48097162667_d3c3a8395f_b.jpg


48097103748_740cfc2012_b.jpg


48097158567_f76d0e8eb4_b.jpg


48097156497_d75a38c710_b.jpg


48097152997_7dd78a0798_b.jpg


48097151502_8b2170e563_b.jpg


48097089328_0eb4b9e763_b.jpg


48097037226_7f0902fea1_b.jpg


48097123812_4614eed48f_b.jpg


The workers changing room and shower block

48097004341_5bb11340bf_b.jpg


48097060313_21feaf7db7_b.jpg


48097054258_bdde05fd08_b.jpg


48097047748_7f631987f4_b.jpg


48097104262_418cb263a5_b.jpg


Originally there was another gas holder at the opposite end of the site and sadly this is all that’s left

48097097417_2c1750b945_b.jpg


The water was our next point of call

48097088532_6d2a9c4d40_b.jpg


48097086232_aa334471e0_b.jpg


48096984836_f984376b18_b.jpg


48097078417_184b750bc2_b.jpg


48097019818_113e427d02_b.jpg


48097072777_5161878c1c_b.jpg


48097012388_87fbb5b665_b.jpg


And finally we found the compressor house

48096965991_2c99fa5f11_b.jpg


48097005553_fe4174634f_b.jpg


48097060792_a98918e817_b.jpg


48097004143_d1dec77f44_b.jpg


48096961526_41ae0e104d_b.jpg


48096998618_32b39679d1_b.jpg


48096951046_bc0d7b17dc_b.jpg


48097058402_d5175860cc_b.jpg


48096949661_52eb2c9278_b.jpg


48096941886_090ecaa0fd_b.jpg


48096935371_9139d3e767_b.jpg


48096967338_9f3dbf764e_b.jpg
 

Sabtr

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2008
Messages
1,478
Reaction score
242
Location
Teesside
Crikey that's a large site. Didn't expect that!

All the way through I was sat chanting 'please show a compressor building' and was not disappointed. :)
Bit of a strange request: Do you have an actual photo of an electric motor ratings plate? You know - usually brass with stampings on that show voltage etc? I have a fetish for large electric motors that's all..

With a site such as that there will be systems which clean up the gas and remove bad chemicals - was that still present or as I suspect, has it been removed?
They're full of toxins following years of use and I suspect they're removed for safety.

The water tower didn't look so big until I spotted the outer walkway near the top. It's huge!

I bet there's far more there too behind the shrubbery.

A fascinating explore. Thanks for sharing.
(was gonna leave a kiss for feeding my motor fetish!)
 

BikinGlynn

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
2,020
Reaction score
3,639
Wow thats stunning Mockney, not sure that "bridge" looks too safe though lol
 

zombizza

Regular Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
52
Reaction score
128
Just had to stop by to say how lovely those blue tiles are. This looks like a very cool and varied place with something to see from every angle. lovely
 
Top