Jumping Jack Flash – UK Industry – 1700’s -2019

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Aug 3, 2014
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Jumping Jack Flash

It’s a Gas Gas Gas said The Rolling Stones in their 1968 number one hit single……

But I’m not here to ramble on about possibly the greatest band ever, I’m here to talk Gas

Gas holders, Gasometer, frames, pancakes, MAN’s, Spirals, flats, etc etc etc

But First a little history adapted from the huge pages of Wikipedia

Before the mid-20th century, coal gas was produced in retorts by heating coal in the absence of air, the process being known as coal gasification. The coal gas was first used for municipal lighting, with the gas being passed through wooden or metal pipes from the retort to the lantern. The first public piped gas supply was to 13 gas lamps installed along the length of Pall Mall, London, in 1807. The credit for this goes to the German inventor and entrepreneur Fredrick Winsor. Digging up streets to lay pipes required legislation, and this delayed the roll-out of street lighting and the installation of gas for domestic illumination, heating, and cooking.

Many people had experimented with coal distillation to produce a flammable gas. For instance Jean Tardin, Clayton, Jean-Pierre Minckelers, Leuven and Pickel but William Murdoch was successful. He had joined Boulton and Watt, at the Soho manufactory in Birmingham in 1777, and in 1792 he built a retort to heat coal to produce gas that illuminated his home and office in Redruth. The system, however, lacked a storage method. James Watt Junior adapted a Lavoisier gazomètre for this purpose. A gasometer was incorporated into the first small gasworks built for the Soho manufactory in 1798.

More information about Soho Works can be seen here


William Murdoch and Samuel Clegg installed retorts in individual factories and work places.

The earliest example was in 1805, at Lee and Phillips, Salford Twist Mill, where eight gas holders were installed. This was shortly followed by one in Sowerby Bridge, constructed by Clegg for Henry Lodge. The first independent commercial gas works was built by the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company in Great Peter Street, Westminster, in 1812, laying wooden pipes to illuminate Westminster Bridge with gas lights on New Year's Eve in 1813. Public gas lights were seen as a crime reduction measure, and as such, and until the 1840s, regulation lay with the Police Authority rather than the elected council

Safety concerns expressed by the Royal Society limited the size of gas holders to 6,000 cubic feet and saw them being enclosed in gasometer houses. This concern proved unfounded, and any small leak from an enclosed gas holder created a potentially explosive build up of air and gas within the building, a far greater danger, and the practice discontinued. In the United States, however, where the gas needed to be protected from extreme weather, gasometer houses continued to be built and were architecturally decorative.

By the 1850s, every small to medium-sized town and city had a gas plant to provide for street lighting. Private customers could also have piped lines to their houses. By this era, gas lighting became accepted. The advent of incandescent gas lighting in factories, homes and in the streets, replacing oil lamps and candles with steady clear light, almost matching daylight in its colour, turned night into day for many—making night shift work possible in industries where light was all important—in spinning, weaving, and making up garments, etc. Gas works were built in almost every town; main streets were brightly illuminated and gas was piped in the streets to the majority of urban households.

The telescopic gas holder was first invented as early as 1824. The cup and dip seal was patented by Hutchinson in 1833, and the first working example was built in Leeds. The benefits of the greatly increased storage the holders provided for local gas works were quickly appreciated, and gas holders were built all around the country in great numbers from the middle of the century. The first were the two-lift, column supported type; later they could have four lifts, being frame-guided, and be retrofitted with an additional flying lift.

William Gadd of Gadd & Mason, from Manchester, invented the spirally-guided gas holder in 1890. Instead of the use of external columns or guide frames, his design operated with spiral rails. The first commercial design was built in Northwich, Cheshire, in the same year. By the end of the century, most towns in Britain had their own gas works and gas holders.

The inter-war years were marked by the development of improvements in storage, especially the waterless gas holder, and in distribution, with the advent of 2- to 4-inch steel pipes to convey gas at up to 50 psi as feeder mains to the traditional cast-iron pipes. Municipal gas works became superfluous in the latter 20th century, but gas holders and production plants were still in use in steel works in 2016.

Gas holders or Gasometers whatever you wish to call them are simply ace. As kids, myself and my little sister would keep an eye on the ones in our town and make sure mum would have enough gas for dinner… We often saw then as we drove into Canning Town to visit our grandparents too.

I climbed my first one back in 2015 but at the beginning of the summer of 2018 things accelerated a little.

Whilst having a stroll around Stratford on a lazy Sunday afternoon ( the small faces, number two, 1968 btw ) I found myself wandering along the Greenway and admiring the structural awesomeness that is Abbey Mills.


As I circumnavigated Abbey Mills I noticed a brace of Gas holders around the back, a site I now know as Bromley by Bow Gasworks. I had a walk down and had a look and snapped a few pictures.

Later that week I got to thinking about Gasholders and how many were left in London.

This is where it began, Google became my friend, Old reports on 28DL were read and my interest grew. Thanks to @Gabe @keitei and @GAJ I soon had a comprehensive list.

It appeared that 82 gas holders had survived inside the M25…..

That was it, I was on a mission I had to visit and climb all 82

As previously mention my first holders were climbed back in 2015:-

1) Croydon Gasworks – Factory lane – 2 Holders

In August 1846 the Croydon Commercial Gas and Coke Company was formed with a capital of £20,000. A rival company - The Croydon Gas & Coke Company was also in existence and in December 1846 the latter agreed to dispose of their rights to the Croydon Commercial Gas & Coke Company on condition they could retain the lands already purchased to build a gasworks.

In March 1847 Mr Patton was appointed the first manager and by 1866 the Company had acquired further land at Waddon and completed the new works in 1867. An act of parliament in 1904 authorised the undertaking to change its name to the Croydon Gas Company. By 1906 the works occupied about 31 acres. The offices and the main showroom were in Katherine St, about one and a half miles from the works. In 1929 the company acquired further premises in Purley Way which were converted into stove repair shops, meter stores, a testing station and a garage (the William Cash Workshops). A further gasholder station at Whyteleafe had also been added by 1935. The company absorbed the Carshalton Gas Company in 1894 and the Caterham and District Gas Company in 1905. It then took over the Oxted and Limpsfield Gas Company in 1931. By 1936 it supplied an area of 73 square miles. On nationalisation in 1949 the undertaking became part of the East Surrey Division of SEGB.

This was the first one I climbed back the winter of 2015, I actually only climbed it to get some decent shots of the outside of Stewart plastics.


It was my first holder and I was a little nervous to say the least. Once I was up there the nerves went away and out came the camera. This was early days before I had a camera clamp so excuse the dodgy hand help snaps. This site consisted of two holders, a frame type holder and a pancake one. It was pretty uneventful and back then fairly easy to get into.





2) Mitcham gas works – Western road – 1 Holder

The Mitcham Gas Light and Coke Co established 1849. During construction in 1882 the discovery of Roman-era graves and a well on the site evince Roman settlement. In the early 20th century, The Mitcham and Wimbledon Gas Company had joined together. They further amalgamated in the 1930s to form the Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Epsom Gas Company. Mitcham was dropped from the name yet this series of photos show the workers and the premises at the Western Road site.


A gas holder still remains to this day and is classed a listed building.

Climbing wise this one was pretty simple, a hop over the fence and up the ladders. However some dickhead, that’ll be me, forgot to do the zip up on his camera bag and shot his bag and its contents up the road as he jumped out of the car. Doh! Luckily the camera survived but took this picture mid slide lol


Once I’d straightened it up, I headed up the holder making sure my bag was zipped shut this time lol



Then came the previously mentioned nose around Abbey Mills in the summer of 2018 and things stepped up and project JJF was born.

Shit got real.

I purchased an A4 pad and listed them along with their addresses and postcodes and their distances from home. Then colour coded them to North, South, East and West London. This was only a mild help as occasionally a gasholder would be on the boarder. But google maps soon solved this problem.



Oh and I also purchased this great book from Amazon. A very worthwhile read.


So it began

The Gas obsession, I found myself out in London a couple of nights a week chasing gas, occasionally getting side-lined by a derp or a rooftop but project JJF was on.

I think I’ve listed and written about these in the order I did them however probably not.

I will just say that I didn’t do them all alone and I have to thank @Rapid_Ascent, @Ojay, @Pinkman, @Clebby and @tallginge for the laughs along the way. A quick thanks goes out to the London National Archive for info and an awesome afternoon I spent there with RA. A final thanks go to my London pal @LadyJayne for research and general WhatsApp support lol

3) Barking Gas Works – Leigh road – 1 holder

Barking Gas Works Was built in 1836 and was operational until 1912. The site fuelled Barking’s street lighting and a gas rate was levied on the population by the Barking Vestry by 1841. This was only seven years after the Poor Law repeal in 1834. In 1867, when the Barking Gas Co. was formed, it was immediately incorporated and held contiguous supply of gas to Barking and Dagenham it was purchased on 1st January 1912 by the Gas Light and Coke co., who had built the Gas Works at Beckton in 1870. The Gas Light and Coke Co. subsequently closed the Barking Works and sold it for ‘other purposes’ the same year. However the gasholder was “rebuilt” in the 1940’s. The GLCC continued to supply the gas for the area of Barking until it was merged to form the North Thames Gas Board in 1948 – a regional arm of public body (known as the Gas board) following the reforms by Clement Attlee in the same year. This became defunct when the 1972 Gas Act was passed creating the centralised British Gas Corporation. GLCC is recognised as being not only the first company to supply public gas in the world but also as the original company from which British Gas is descended.
The Lone gasholder currently shares land with a disused playing field and a couple of football goals.

Barking was one of the first I climbed in the summer of 2018 during a London trip for RapidAscents birthday lol. One that as I child I would see a lot driving in and out of London with my parents. I’ve done this one a few times, alone and with various friends. It’s been a place to stop off for lunch and a place to sit and watch the world go by. Painted in a fetching shade of red oxide and rising up from the wasteland at the side of the A406 this one is still one I’d revisit if I was in the neighbourhood. A couple of fences separate this one from being climbed but nothing taxing, especially now that they have chopped all the bushes down…

I chose to use pics from a day time trip as the views from here are pretty ace. Looking into London, Canary Wharf is easily visible and looking over to the left Millennium Mills and the O2 can also be seen.





4) Beckton Gasworks – Amada Way – 2 Holders

Beckton Gasworks was a major London gasworks built to manufacture coal gas and other products including coke from coal. The 550 acre site has been described as 'the largest such plant in the world’ and 'the largest gas works in Europe'. It operated from 1870 to 1969, with an associated by-products works that operated from 1879 to 1970. The works were located on East Ham Level, on the north bank of the Thames at Gallions Reach, to the west of Barking Creek.


The plant was opened in 1870 by the Gas Light and Coke Company. The name Beckton was given to the plant and the surrounding area of east London in honour of the company's governor Simon Adams Beck. It eventually to manufactured gas for most of London north of the Thames, with numerous smaller works being closed. Its counterpart south of the river was the South Metropolitan Gas Co.’s East Greenwich Gas Works on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The discovery of natural gas in the North Sea meant that manufactured gas became uncompetitive and the Beckton works closed between 1969 and 1970, when the last trainload left the associated chemical works. The works lay within the London Docklands area and parts were redeveloped by the London Docklands Development Corporation.

The toxic spoil heaps from the works are known locally as The Beckton Alps.


Originally covering an extensive area to the west of the works, they have been landscaped and much reduced in size. From 1989 to 2001 a dry ski slope, opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, was operated on the small remaining section, though the nickname pre-dates this. The site is the highest point in Newham, and a Site of Borough Importance for Nature Conservation, Grade II. It is said to be the highest artificial hill in London.

Have a read of this for more info on the Alps


Virtually no trace of the old gasworks exists. Bisected by many roads, a small area of the waste tip and two gas holders remain, separated by a mile or so of redevelopment. Parts of the site are occupied by an industrial estate, the Beckton Retail Park and Gallions Reach Shopping Park.

A photo from the National Archives of working on the Beckton Gasworks


Well the Becton Alps, Another familiar site from my childhood. As already mentioned we visited my grandparents in Canning Town most weekends, I Think my parents were terribly homesick. I remember the remains of the gasworks and my dad taking us to the “alps” for some sledging,

Although I think it may have closed by then, a pre Mockney Reject explore if you like lol

Once I had committed to this “foolish” task I knew Beckton had to be on my list.

So father’s day was the chosen day, the day I hate the most, you get to sit and watch everyone in the world wish their dads a great day, damn mine for passing away. So myself and another fatherless co-conspirator, RA, decided we would hit Beckton and have a beer on top of the gas holder to honour our dearly departed east end dads. And why not!

We managed to get over the palisade with ease and we made our way up the ladders to the top of one of the prettiest holders we had seen so far. The framework pillars topped with their gold painted cast iron toppers make this one really aesthetically pleasing.

We sat up the top chatting dads and looking down on the part of London that they once called their “manor”. Although nowadays it is replaced by a retail park and a Tesco’s petrol station. Times move on I guess. We also looked down onto the remaining pancake holder. Sadly just these two left from the eight that originally called this site home.





5) Romford Holder Station – Crow Lane – 4 Holders

Romford's first gas undertaking, with works in South Street, is said to have been established by George M. Bell in 1825. In 1847 the Romford Gas & Coke Co. was formed and took over the works from Bell, who remained as the manager. In 1892 the company built new works in Nursery Walk, south of the railway station, by 1938 these covered 25 acres.
The rebuilding and enlargement of the works was begun in 1947 but by 1949 the company had been taken over by the North Thames gas board.


History says that around March 1943 a flight of Focke Wulfe 190s machine gunned the Romford train station and the 7:15 to Liverpool Street and hit the gasworks setting the gasholder on fire. Before demolition you could approach the gasworks from Crow Lane you could still see the repair patches riveted to the side.

DOH my first proper fail, I rocked up here after they had finished pulling the four large pancake holders down, I only just missed them as they still showed up on google maps, Sorry kids no holder pics from this one just holes and pipes.



6) Greenwich Gasworks – Greenwich Peninsula - 1 Holder

Located on the Greenwich Peninsula by the Thames in south-east London, the Gasworks was built between 1881 and 1886. Most of the works was built on a greenfield site on Greenwich Marshes.

The East Greenwich Gas Works of the South Metropolitan Gas Company was the last gas works to be built in London, and the most modern. Originally manufacturing town gas from coal brought in by river and exporting coke and chemicals, the plant was adapted to produce gas from oil in the 1960s.

The works was built under the auspices of the South Metropolitan Gas Company's chairman George Livesey. Before construction could begin many tons of clinker and heavy rubbish were dumped in order to build up the marshy ground. The gas works eventually occupied most of the east and centre of the peninsula, stretching for around 1.2 miles from Blackwall Point, southeast towards New Charlton and covering some 240 acres.

Gasholder No 1 is a typical example of its type, a development of George Livesey’s cylindrical shell design, first used at the Old Kent Road gasworks. However, this holder was plainer in styling and execution in its construction. It was one of the many large gasholders built by the South Metropolitan Gas Company in the late 19th century and, for a brief period of 5 years, was the largest gasholder in the world. Built on a mound, the tank is set approximately 4m above ground level, something which was necessitated by the ground conditions and realised when work began in 1884.

Gasholder No 1 was soon joined by a second larger gasholder – No 2 – which was constructed in 1892.


This was demolished in the early 1980s. The second, with six lifts was originally the largest in the world at 12,200,000 cubic feet, was reduced to 8,900,000 cubic feet when it was damaged in the Silvertown explosion in 1917, but was still the largest in England until it was damaged again by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb in 1978. It was later demolished.
Redevelopment began in the late 1990s, the first development being the Millennium Dome, originally intended to be a temporary structure to be removed after 2000. The site is covered by many developments, principally The O2, North Greenwich Underground station, David Beckham Academy, a retail park and multiplex cinema, a hotel, primary school, Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park and Greenwich Millennium Village. Several sites remain to be developed. Two small sections of the plant's coaling jetty are preserved as part of North Greenwich Pier, one acting as the base for Anthony Gormley's sculpture Quantum Cloud.

I did this as a solo one after hitting the Romford gasworks to find all four holders there had been recently demolished. I was heading home whilst messaging @LadyJayne and she suggested trying Greenwich as it looked as if it was finally going to be demolished. Yup this big boy had finally failed to get listing. Although we still live in hope that this will be overturned.

I psyched myself up parked in the O2 carpark and headed towards the palisade, thanks to a handy sandbag someone had placed on the fence I made my way over. Thanks if you are reading.

The climb itself was pretty uneventful but a bloody long way up. That far that I stopped halfway for a drink. I was determined to get to the top to catch the sun going down over the city and luckily I managed just that.

Jumbo as this one is nicknamed is a biggy and the only one I got hurt at. Poxy palisade, although my climb in had been easy, my climb out wasn’t, well it should have been. I found a ladder in the long grass and used that to get out. Easy peasy but I decided to be a good citizen and push the ladder back over the fence, and that ladies and gentlemen is where I decided to run my arm along the top of the palisade. Stupid idiot! A tubigrip from my camera bag stopped the bleeding and I was good to go lol

I heading home with a throbbing arm and a smile on my face lol







7) Orpington gasworks – Sevenoaks Way – 3 Holders

St Mary Cray is an area of South East London and is part of the London Borough of Bromley. It is located north of Orpington. It was an ancient parish in the county of Kent that was absorbed by Orpington Urban District in 1934 and has formed part of Greater London since 1965

The gas works at St Mary Cray were the first in the area and supplied ‘town’s gas’ to the entire Cray Valley population.


So I rocked up at this one on the way back from seeing a client in Kent, jumped the fence around the side and headed in. I noticed a few ancient PIR’s hung around the site so did my best to avoid them

This was a simple up, shoot and get down affair as it’s on a pretty busy main road. There are three holders on this site, one pancake and 2 frame holders all differing in size. As holders go this site was really photogenic and not as stressful as some other sites as I later found.






8) Bromley gasworks – Homesdale Road – 2 Holders

The Gas Works in Homesdale Road was set up by The Bromley Gas Company in about 1864. They were a privately run company which supplied the local area with Gas and Coke. Some of the company members were prominent members of society such as Sir John Lubbock and Dr James Llott. The Gas works were extended in 1879 and many of the houses in the Local area such as Waldo Road housed the men working at the Gas works. A new Gas Holder was added to the site in 1969.



After leaving Orpington I had a check to see what other holders were on the way home, I found this one almost en-route. Parking in the nearby Tesco’s I could hear noise from the pub over the road that reminded me that the England game was on. Excellent, nobody would pay little ole me attention as I jumped a few fences and climbed their gas holder.

And that is exactly what I did. Went through a gap in the first fence, jumped the second, spotted a Dalek, avoided said Dalek and his equally colourful pal and then used the next fence to help me up the holder frame.

It was evident that they knew this one was shagged as it was covered in the green builders netting to catch any bits that dared to fall off lol. As I climbed up I could hear the shouts and cheers coming from the pub and I guessed it had gone to penalties. I reached the top and plotted myself up as what sounded like the winning penalty was scored and hordes of people erupted into chants of “it’s coming home” All pretty surreal to watch from a few hundred feet above them.





As I climbed down from this one and realised I could just hop over the fence into the Tesco loading bay. On climbing down from the palisade I became aware of someone behind me clapping

Now I was a little concerned that this could either be the local drunk footie “hooligan” or maybe the cops. Either way was going to be a pain in the arse. What I wasn’t prepared for were the two old dears out the back of Tesco’s on their fag break lol

“You did a good job of that” one of them said

Assuming they meant climbing the gas holder I replied “Thanks, I’ve climbed a few” and started to walk away

“Fences?” came the reply

Then I realised they hadn’t seen me up the holder. I walked to wards then and explained that I had just been “up there” I showed them a few of the growing gallery of gas holders on my phone.

“You must me mad” They replied

Yes, I guess I am” I replied as I waked away chuckling ….

9) Bow Common – Knapp road – 2 holders

"The works were built, in 1850, next to Tower Hamlets cemetery, on Bow Common lane, Bow Common at a cost of £106,000. A noticeable feature was the process, devised by Croll, of employing waste heat from one set of retorts to fire another. In 1851 the company gained statutory powers via the Great Central Gas Consumers Act 1851. Although successful in reducing the price of gas, the Great Central suffered because of it, Bow Common fell into disrepair and an act of embezzlement by an employee finally compelled the company to sell to the Gas Light & Coke Company in 1870. The works were almost entirely rebuilt in 1926. In 1954 the works were used in a large-scale trial of accelerated carbonisation, and were still in operation three years later”


Water-cooled gas condensers at Bow Common Gasworks, London. Gas, emerging from the retort house at a temperature of about 150-170° Fahr, is cooled in vertical towers containing water tubes. This cooling process liquefies substances in the gas that would otherwise interfere with the gas supply

We pulled up at Bow Common after a slow drive into London and I realised I had seen the offices before.


I’d pulled up here years back and couldn’t get in. However on this day I found an open window had a look around and decided it was shit. So we headed further into the site to check out the 2 pancake gas holders. Only to find they looked like this when we got there.



Well that was two more off of the list, Damn!

10) Stratford Holder station – Abbey Lane – 1 Holder

The gasworks at Stratford was built by the West Ham Gas Company. It supplied a densely populated area east of London and provided a bulk gas supply to the Chigwell, Loughton and Woodford Gas Company. It was absorbed by the GLCC in 1912. Productive capacity was 9.0 million cubic feet per day in 1948

Bit of a dull one this but still one to tick off of the list.

Stratford holder station consists of one pancake holder and a flooded hole where one has been partially removed.

The pics of here are pretty dull so there’s only a few



Of course this was only the warm up for what was to come later on in the night

11) Bromley by Bow Gasworks – Twelvetrees Crescent – 7 holders

The works was designed by E. Kirkham for the Imperial Gas Light & Coke Co. as their super out of town works in 1870. The London gas companies had been asked by the government to build large out of town works in this period and the Imperial – then the largest London gas company with works at Haggerston, Fulham and Kings Cross - commissioned this works to the highest possible standard. Work began in 1873 on an area of 170 acres and it was the intention of the company, to provide 60 million c/ft. per day. The company built four very large retort houses which began work in 1873 and 1876. Coal had to be barged to the works and to this end St, Leonard’s Dock was built. In 1876 – again through Government encouragement - the Imperial Company was taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Company. It has been said that in ‘many respects, notably purifiers, gasholders, engine rooms and other buildings, the design was superior to Beckton’. Under the control of the Gas Light and Coke Co however the Bromley works was left unfinished and side lined –and remained so for the rest of its history. No connections were made with the railway despite the fact that two lines ran alongside it. In the 1950s, following nationalisation, it was the second largest works of the North Thames Gas Board. The works was run down and continued working through the 1950s. Eventually closing in the 1970s.

A photo from the National Archives of women building one of the holders at Bromley by Bow


Seven holders built between1872-1882 remain here. Designed and commissioned by Thomas Kirkham and Joseph Clark, followed, under the Gas Light and Coke Co., by Vitruvius Wyatt. There were once nine holders here. They have double tier guide frames with cast iron Doric and Corinthian columns and filigree webbed girders. They are all a bit different to each other and No.1 was given a spiral guided flying lift in 1927.

They are all grade II listed with Historic England. It has been proposed that the land on which they are sited be converted to an urban park.

In 2018, they were named among the top ten endangered buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian eras in a survey released by the Victorian Society.

These were always going to be my favourite, Located in Twelvetree’s crescent, the coolest road name ever! But they also share the name of my beloved West Ham United. Arriving at the site the seven remaining gasholders are pretty daunting. Standing over the road looking at them makes them almost seem like a mad fictional illusion. I was lucky to visit this lot twice, Firstly with my regular companion Rapid Ascent who decided to take a paddle in the water surrounding one of the holders, and then later with @Ojay and @Tallginge.

The climb up was pretty interesting as the lower section of the ladders have been removed so it involved some “creative” climbing and a balance of faith lol


Pic thanks to @Tallginge

I could have posted tonnes of pics of these but whittled it down to just these few. This set are so damn photogenic and are located in a great part of London. Close to Abbey Mills and near the Lea Tunnel. Here’s a few of my faves…





12) Gasholder Park – Kings Cross – 4 holders

The iconic structures at King’s Cross were built in the 1850s as part of Pancras Gasworks. The gasholders remained in use until the late 20th Century and were finally decommissioned in 2000. When the regeneration of King’s Cross kicked off, Gasholders No. 8, together with the conjoined 10, 11 and 12 were dismantled and shipped piece by piece to Shepley Engineers in Yorkshire. It took two years to restore the gasholders in 2013 they returned to King’s Cross and were rebuilt piece-by-piece in their new home on the banks of the canal.


The iconic gasholder guide frames have decorated the landscape at King’s Cross for over 150 years. Gasholder No.8 is the largest of these, and was built for the storage of town gas for Pancras Gasworks, the largest gas works in London. Gas was manufactured here using coal from the Imperial Gas, Light and Coke Company. The Grade II listed structure was originally constructed in the 1850s and expanded in 1883.

The guide frame consists of 16 hollow cylindrical cast iron columns in two tiers and two levels of wrought iron riveted lattice girders. The distinctive 25 metre high circular guide frame has an internal diameter of over 35 metres.

The frame of No.8 now houses a stunning new park and event space designed by Bell Phillips Architects. By day Gasholder Park is a place to play or pause and take in the view over the canal and Camley Street Natural Park. By night, subtle lighting transforms the park into a destination for events. Paths lead down to the canal towpath and in time, a new bridge over Regent’s Canal.

We never really intended to explore/climb this one, we just went along for a look. After a wander around the outside we decided to have a walk inside and see if the concierge would let us have a wander around.

That was wishful thinking, he did however give me these two awesome booklets on the Gasholder park development.


They contain some great information and history on the gasholders along with some brilliant pictures and sketches


Once we had a chat with him we decided to leave and visit the next one on our list, this however didn’t go to plan as I noticed I could shimmy up the leg of one of the conjoined holders, so up I went while RA snapped some pics and kept lookout lol


Once up the leg I walked along the joining beams, took a few pics, climbed down the inside leg and walked back out passed the slightly confused concierge and swiftly off towards No.8.




We had a little sit down and looked through the booklets. I may at this point have decided to climb up the leg of No.8 for a few extra pics. It was a this point a different concierge cried out “That may have been fun but please don’t do it again” lol lol lol


We then headed off to our next port of call

13) Bethnal Green Holder Station – Pritchards road – 4 holders

The Bethnal Green Holder Station was established in the 1850s as a detached holder station for the Shoreditch Gasworks of the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company, opened in 1823. Unlike the gasworks, the holder station was built on the Regent’s Canal; and both historic gasholders are situated near to the south side of the canal.

The No. 2 gasholder is the smallest and earliest surviving of a series of gasholders designed by the engineer, Joseph Clark; and completed by Westwood and Wright’s of Dudley in December 1866. It has a guide frame of 16 cast-iron columns on a circular in-ground brick tank, 134 feet in diameter. Each column consists of two superimposed classical columns: a lower Doric column and an upper Corinthian column, separated by a rectangular junction box for the lower ring of decorative cast- and wrought-iron girders.



In 1876, the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company merged with the Chartered Gas Light and Coke Company to form the Gas Light and Coke Company, which was the world’s largest gas undertaking until nationalisation in 1949.

The No. 5 gasholder was designed by the new company’s engineer, George Trewby, and was completed in 1889. It has a lattice guide frame of 22 steel box-lattice guide standards on a circular in-ground concrete tank 200 feet in diameter and 50 feet in depth. At 146 feet, the No.5 is twice the height of the No.2 and makes the dominant contribution to the canalscape. However, the setting of each gasholder is enhanced by the proximity of the other. Furthermore, they are the only surviving adjacent gasholders in London which represent the two main types of 19th century gasholder guide frame in London, which was the birthplace of the gas industry; and until recently, the No.2 gasholder was the oldest in operational use in the country.

We actually visited these ones twice, the first time was a little windy, however the second time we dragged @pinkman along and it was a much calmer experience. The main gate topped with razor wire claimed a nearly new pair of exploring strides, oops, shit happens I guess.

It was here we first noticed the decorative makes plates on the legs of the holders. The Bethnal Green holders have one of the best views of the city out of the many holders I have visited. Looking into the city, back out of the city and down on to the canal, giving a great place to watch the graffiti artists at work.





14) Belvedere Gas Holder Station – Yarnton Way – 2 Holders

Belvedere Gas Holders. Set up by the South Suburban Gas Company around 1922 as a gasholder station. The two gasholders are from 1923 and of 1931.


I cracked this one on a night out on my own, I say this one but Belvedere has a lovely pair (oooerr missus) of frame type gas holders, located right on the edge of a main road, a very busy main road at that. After pacing up and down the road waiting for a quiet moment that never came I changed track and decided to check out a side street, walla I was over the fence and up the holder quicker than a gram of charlie up Katie Price’s hooter. This one also offers some great views into the city and is a decent place to chill for a bit.





However too much chilling wasn’t the call of this evening and I bounced back out and headed off to my next target

15) Crayford Gas Holder Station – Old Road – 2 Holders

Crayford Gas Works. Opened in 1852, and was later acquired by the West Kent Gas Company in 1865, then becoming known as the Nettlebed Bottom Works. The production of gas at the works closed in 1912, and the site became a holder station. The brown column guided holder was made in 1932, and the green spirally guided holder was made in 1955.


The West Kent Gas Company established in 1862, with gas works at West Street, Erith. The Crystal Palace & District Gas Company was formed in 1853, and became the South Suburban Gas Company in 1904; it took over the West Kent Company in 1912, and closed the Erith works in 1914.

Upon leaving Belvidere I headed towards Crayford and decided that this would be the last holder today. Oddly located at the end of a street on a dodgy junction Crayford holder station has one frame holder and one pancake holder, divided by a load of old crap cars. Access and climbing in was pretty uneventful. With the exception of a few pain in the arse pigeons this wasn’t a bad one. Having climbed a few this day I was knackered so headed home for a night of dreaming gas holders, via Burger King that was. Lol




16) Leven Road Gasworks – Poplar – 3 Holders

The Commercial Gas Company out of town gas works built from 1876. The Commercial Gas Company, smallest of the inner London gas companies, was based in Stepney and this was their ‘Beckton’. John Abbott had bought David McIntosh's estate in 1873, and immediately sold this section to the Gas Company. They built three gas holders and an office.


They had hoped to use sea-going colliers on Bow Creek but navigational difficulties prevented this. They also wanted to call it Bromley Works but the Imperial Gas Company objected to this clash of names. The works stopped making gas in 1967. Three holders remain on site No. 1 built in 1877 by Harry Jones, engineer, with an early wrought-iron lattice guide frame with daintily tapered members. No. 3 A larger holder built in 1929.with four lifts and above ground steel tank.

Well it was…..

This was all that was left when we got there)


Bugger another fail

17) Lea Bridge Road Gasworks - Lea Bridge Road – 3 Holders

The Lea Bridge gasworks was built in 1853 by the South Essex Gaslight and Coke Co. They only supplied part of Leyton, and were later sold to the County & General Gas Consumers Co., established in 1856 and incorporated in 1857. In 1864 the company's operation in Leyton was statutorily restricted to the area north of Park Road, Coopers Lane, and James Lane. The company was bought out in 1868 and the Lea Bridge District Gaslight & Coke Co. formed.


In 1878 this was reincorporated with statutory powers as the Lea Bridge District Gas Co. The rest of Leyton was supplied by the West Ham Gas Co., incorporated in 1856. This had laid pipes in Leytonstone by 1857. In 1871 the Park Road, Coopers Lane, James Lane line was agreed as the boundary between the two companies. The West Ham Gas Co. was absorbed by the Gas Light & Coke Co. in 1910. From 1910 to 1949 Leyton was supplied by this and the Lea Bridge Company. In 1949, after the Gas Act, 1948, the assets of both companies were transferred to the North Thames gas board.

Lea Bridge Road gasworks is a great little site and one contains one frame holder and two pancake holders. Getting on site was interesting as for some reason this back street contains more human foot traffic and I've seen a long time.

Once over the gate we made our way towards the holders, luckily the main palisade gate was open. Result. We made our way up the frame holder. It was a little sketchy as this one is more than a little rotten. I’m pretty sure in some places it was just held together with paint.

We used Lea Bridge Road as a stop gap to pass time before we met up with @pinkman for a second crack at Bethnal Green. We sat up the top watching the Showman set up the fair in the next field until it was our time to bail.





18) Dartford Holder Station – Hythe Street – 1 Holder

In July, 1826, a general meeting of the inhabitants of Dartford received a report which included an estimate from a Mr. W. Warcup of £2,600 for the whole work. The expected income mentioned £208 per annum from the lighting of 52 public lamps and £420 per annum from 120 private lights. The meeting agreed that the proposals had a good chance of a reasonable remuneration for those who took part in the enterprise. Accordingly it was resolved to form a company. The company was formed very quickly and only 18 days later, on 12th August, at the Bull Inn, a meeting of subscribers took place. Directors were chosen and officers appointed. It was agreed to purchase a piece of land in Duck's Orchard on the terms offered.


Work went forward quickly, and gun barrels screwed together were sometimes used as pipes. In June, 1827, public gas lighting in Dartford commenced with a contract to light 68 lamps. The first coke was sold in July 1827. At the end of its first year the Company was supplying gas to 55 private lights.

Dartford, in those days a small Kentish town, was only 14 years behind the first gas company to receive its charter, in London, and only two years after the other great London gas company. Dartford can therefore be placed among the pioneers of public gas supply in the United Kingdom.

In 1837 a new gasholder was constructed and in 1855 the Company purchased another gasholder from the Phoenix Gas Company, Bankside, London. Additional purifiers and other works were found necessary in 1857 to cope with the increasing consumption.

In 1863 it was agreed that the existing Works was incapable of supplying the growing demand, which by then included New Town and the various industries of the district. The City of London Asylum (Stone) was also soon to be built. The Directors agreed to an outlay of about £800. The telescoping gas holder was enlarged in 1866 for the price of £698.

On Thursday, 1 July, 1879, there was an explosion as the new gas holder, 74 feet in diameter, blew up. Debris was shattered up to 100 yards away, and a torrent of water, stones, bricks, and mud rushed along Gas Lane.

A new, larger gas holder was constructed in 1909, as demand for gas heating and cooking soared.

Amalgamation with the South Suburban Gas Company took place on 1 January, 1919. In 1918 there were 5,731 users and in 1926 8,311. After World War 11, Dartford came within the area of the South Eastern Gas Board. Gas making in Dartford ceased on 1 April, 1955 there were then, after nearly 130 years and 23,000 users.

Dartford gas holder that was a fun one. Located in Dartford town centre and looking out over the River Thames. It was a typical case of waiting for a gap in the traffic and then launching ourselves over the spikey fence and into the grounds of the holder.

This was another in the list of gas holders that are a little worse for ware, @Rapid_Ascent likened following me up this one as being in a meteor shower with the sheer amount of crap falling off of it.
Sorry not Sorry. It was worth it in the end as the views are awesome, it’s kinda weird to see Littlebrook Power Station and the QE2 Bridge from a different angle too.





19) Motspur Park Holder Station –West Barnes Lane– 3 Holders

In 1912 Wandsworth and Putney Gaslight and Coke Company merged with the Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gaslight Company and the Epsom and Ewell Gas Company to form the Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Epsom District Gas Company. In 1924 it bought land at Worcester Park to build more gas holders.


The three fine gasholders at Motspur Park on the east side of the railway line were built in 1926, 1932 and 1954. Motspur Park, also known locally as West Barnes is a suburb in south-west London in the boroughs of Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and London Borough of Merton. It owes its identity to the railway station of the same name, which has six trains an hour to London’s Waterloo, and to the adjacent parade of small shops. The two prominent gas holders, which are used to store the consumer gas supply for south west London stand just south of the shopping parade and can be seen from a wide area. During the second wold war it is claimed that a German pilot bailed-out and landed on top of the gas holders but sadly fell to his death.

Motspur Park was one I had always liked the look of. Having seen various reports on the forms I knew it was pretty, but to avoid the same old pics you see we decided to go at night.
The site itself was a bit of pain in the arse to get in, myself and @Rapid_Ascent had to climb over three high palisade gates just to get near the holder. Then we had to avoid two bastard security Daleks. However much we tried we could only avoid one of them and son had the other flashing it lights and croaking at us that security and the police were coming, so we knew we had a race against time to get up the holder and back out.

We climbed as quickly as we cold in what felt like an Olympic event and eventually got to the top. Luckily you can see the whole town from up there so you at least have an early blue light warning system. By the time we had finished taking pics we were both fucked. The rigorous exercise from the gates and the sprint up the ladders had taken their toll. It was a lovely clear night and the views were great but eventually we clambered down, upset the Dalek again and made our way back to the car and headed home.





20) Kennington Holder Station - The Oval – 4 Holders

The Kennington Lane Gasholder Station was developed by the Phoenix Gas Light and Coke Company and for many years they were the largest gas company in South London. In January of 1824 the site at Kennington, just to the north of the Oval cricket ground was purchased from the Southwark and Vauxhall Water Works Company to act as a holder station for the gasworks. The Vauxhall Waterworks included two brick-lined circular reservoirs which were adapted for gasholder tanks and, in February 1847, a tender was accepted from Westwood and Wrights of the Black Country for a gasholder (No. 1 Gasholder) using the smaller of the tanks. The guide frame comprised 18 giant Tuscan columns in a single order about 36 ft. tall, supporting cast iron girders in the form of a balustrade. With a capacity of 600,000 cubic ft., it was the largest telescopic gasholder. It was completed in October 1847 but later demolished to make way for the present No. 1 Gasholder in 1877.


The replacement No. 1 gasholder involved the construction of a new tank 218ft in diameter and 44ft 6ins deep. The two-lift holder of 3 million cubic ft. (then a world record) was built by Samuel Cutler and Sons and completed in the autumn of 1879. In 1889, after the Phoenix Gas Light and Coke Company had merged with the South Metropolitan Gas Company in 1880, it was decided to double the capacity of No. 1 Gasholder to 6 million cubic ft. This was carried out by Frank Livesey, chief engineer of the South Metropolitan, and involved the insertion of a central section into each of the guide standards to increase its height by 50% and adding two more lifts, one of them rising above the guide frame (a so-called ‘flying lift).

No. 2 Gasholder was constructed with a new tank on the site of the second reservoir in 1854-5. At about 1,250,000 cubic ft. it was another record breaker, and it was distinguished by giant single-order guide columns made of wrought-iron riveted tubes, with cast-iron bases and capitals, rising nearly to 70 ft. The bell was reconstructed in 1897 and a spiral-guided holder was built in the original tank in 1950.

No. 3 Gasholder was erected by Horton's of Smethwick to the design of William Innes and completed in November 1869. It had a giant single-order, double-tier guide frame and a capacity of 600,000 cubic ft., sadly this was demolished around 1975.

Gasholders Nos. 4 and 5 were built following a report in November 1872 by Corbet Woodall that an increase in the gasholder capacity at Kennington was urgently required. The tanks were completed in October 1873 and Gasholder No. 4 was complete by May 1874. The second of this ‘Siamese twin’ pair of holders (since they share one column), gasholder No. 5 was completed in February 1876. Each of the effectively identical holders is of two lifts with double-tier guide frames modelled on those of the Imperial Gas Company.

Following conversion to natural gas storage in the 1970s, the holder station was decommissioned in 2014.

The Oval was always going to be on the list looking down on the world’s most famous cricket ground and being a blatant piss take to make it even worse.

Having been in London for the day with @Rapid_Ascent and @Clebby and being lucky enough to check out the Samaritans hospital over in West London


We headed over towards the Oval to drag Clebby up his first gas holder. Now I’ve already said it was a blatant pisstake but we didn’t quit know how much at the start.

Getting into the site was fun as always but luckily it didn't appear to be anything on the Oval the surrounding roads were fairly quiet, Although 10 minutes later and a few feet up we realised we had made a small mistake and there was indeed a game of cricket on. We could see into the Oval and the ground was occupied. Having never watched a game of cricket this was quite novel. We could clearly see and hear what was going on the noise of leather against Willow was quite audible from the top of the gas holder. We posed for a few pics and headed off for the evening.




21) Old Kent road Gasworks – Southwark – 1 holder

The Old Kent road site originally formed part of the gasworks of the South Metropolitan Gas Company. It built the new works adjoining the Grand Surrey Canal. The works were completed by 1833. Thomas Livesey was appointed Chief Officer in 1839. A plan of 1838 shows the gasworks on a narrow strip of land extending eastwards from Old Kent Road and broadly following the curvature of the canal. In 1848 Thomas’s son, George, joined the company and helped to reconstruct the gasworks, which became the most efficient in London.

George Livesey became company Engineer in 1862, company Secretary in 1871 when his father died, and subsequently Chairman. He had wide influence not only in engineering terms at Old Kent Road but also in company management.

The Old Kent Road gasworks increased from a 3 acre site to 36 acres by the 1870s. The 1875 OS map shows six gasholders, a retort house and purifiers, as well as a large area of open land to the east;
Gasholder No.10 had been built at the north-west corner of this new land in 1867. Between 1879 and 1881 the company amalgamated with the Surrey Consumers Gas Company and, its main rivals, the Phoenix Gas Light and Coke Company. By 1896, the Old Kent Road gasworks included three further gasholders (Nos. 11-13), as well as a substantial office building, new retort houses and engine houses, with a public recreation ground, cricket ground and allotment gardens at the south east. The ground conditions proved particularly challenging for the construction of the gasholders, and Livesey oversaw several developments. In erecting the tank of Gasholder No.10 in 1867, his contractors Messrs Docwra had carried out excavation in the fine-grained, water-saturated, Thanet Sand by installing dewatering wells in the underlying chalk. Livesey pioneered the use of Portland cement concrete in a gasholder tank during the construction of Gasholder No.11, with a brick-facing, in 1872 (demolished in the c1980s when the tank was buried). The subsequent gasholder, No.12 had the first tank without a brick facing or puddled-clay waterproofing. The water tightness was improved in building Gasholder No.13 by using embedded hoop-iron reinforcement and the concrete was cast directly against the temporarily dewatered sand for the first time, thereby avoiding need for backfilling.


The remaining Gasholder No.13 was erected in 1879-1881 with a capacity of 5.5m cu ft.; at that time the largest in the world. It was built to a new design principle which treated the entire guide frame as a cylindrical lattice shell, rather than a series of individual standards linked together. This enabled the size of the vertical and horizontal elements to be considerably reduced but placed much greater dependence on strong diagonal members to keep the shape and to transfer shearing forces around the structure under wind-loading. The new method required the guide frame to be built up tier by tier, five stages in all, since it relied on the complete circle for integrity. It enabled considerable cost savings, the total cost of £47,000, less than half the cost of previous gasholders.

Despite difficult ground conditions, the tank was the deepest then constructed, and one of the deepest ever built. The gasholder bell was the first three-lift telescopic bell to be erected on a large scale and also the first to use mild steel in the top curb of the untrussed crown. Livesey had favoured George Piggott’s round-section cup and grip for the gasholder bells, which he was the first to specify during the erection of No.9 gasholder in 1862. They remain on the lower two lifts of No.13, which also have vertical stiffeners introduced by Livesey. Unlike any previous gasholder in England, No.13 used two types of rollers (radial and tangential) to distribute the forces from the bell to the guide frame. The gasholder was first filled with gas on 16th December 1881. It was repaired in September 1942 following wartime damage in September 1940. The opportunity was taken to replace the top tier of the guide frame, which previously used cruciform-section struts as in the lower tiers, with a stiffer rolled-steel girder.

The gasworks became part of the Metropolitan Division of the South Eastern Gas Board upon nationalisation in 1949 and ceased production in 1953. The buildings were gradually replaced by new development. A recycling facility was built on part of the land in the 2000s.

I had always fancied a crack at Old Kent Road. I’d seen photographs of the weathervane on top of this one and thought it would be quite cool to climb it. This particular night, after spending a few hours in a pub with an old friend who was over from New Zealand, I wasn’t really feeling it but when you are you in the neighbourhood why not? We did the normal bunking of the palisade and to be fair we didn’t do a bad job of it and avoided getting scratched at this point.

The culmination of a few beers and a bit of wind, natures not mine, made this one not particularly fun and the fact that it is wide open to the elements once at the top made it a little less enjoyable than normal. Once up there we sat down and talked shit and took some snaps, pretty much standard for the London gas holders by now.





22) Southgate Gas Holder Station – Station Road – 1 Holder

New Southgate Gas Works. In 1858 the Southgate and Colney Hatch Gas Light and Coke Company was set up with a gas works beside the railway immediately to the south of New Southgate Station. In 1866 it was re-incorporated as the Colney Hatch Gas Company, and in 1904 became the Southgate and District Gas Company. It was taken over in 1938 by the Tottenham and District Gas Company and nationalised in 1948.
This major gas works, built in 1858 and did much to encourage population growth in the area and became a major local employer. The surviving single gas holder was built in 1912 and is the only remaining part of the gas works, which was demolished during the 1970s along with all of the neighbouring housing.

The works closed in 1972 with holders remaining on site. In particular one holder remained, built in 1912 and decommissioned in 2001.


Southgate gas holder has always fascinated me I’ve passed it many time driving around the A406 on the way to the Ace Café at nearby Park Royal

I've always wondered how the whole area has been redeveloped yet the holder remains, so we rocked up Southgate and had to work out how to get into the site and how to climb this one having been told it was absolute nightmare. It wasn't that hard in the end you just have to find the right place and the right time. A gap in the always busy A406 is always a bonus.

Once at the top it wasn’t so bad and we got to watch the world go by and get on with it business. It wasn't until I turned around and saw a carpark full of police cars I start to panic. On further observation it appeared to be just a storage yard rather than London’s finest coming to drag us in for a chat.




23) Barnet Gas Holder Station – Albert Road – 1 Holder

The Albert Road gas holder in New Barnet, north London, is a disused gas holder on the site of the former New Barnet Gas Works with a capacity of 2,000,000 cubic feet of gas. It was built for the Barnet & District Gas and Water Company and came into use in 1934.

The site was opened for the East Barnet Gas and Water Company which in 1872 took over two local gas companies and became the Barnet & District Gas and Water Company. The company was nationalised in 1949 and became part of the Eastern Gas Board.

Gas holders have been present on the southern part of the site since at least the 1890s but the current, and last remaining, holder was not brought into use until 1934. It is column-guided with four concentric lifts. After the exploitation of North Sea Gas began in the 1960s the gas works on the rest of the site was demolished and a high pressure pipeline installed with the remaining holder retained just for low pressure storage to cope with diurnal peak demand on the system. It was fully decommissioned around 2009, and does not form part of the infrastructure network for the supply of gas. Sometime after 2000, Asda supermarkets acquired the site but plans for housing and a supermarket were not approved and they sold the area to the social housing provider One Housing.


Barnett gas holder is situated in North London and was on our way home one night. To be fair it's quite nice especially considering Barnet is a little run down. We just had to take a bit of a wander down a dark alley way, climb a bridge and bunk over yet more palisade, more razor and more random wire. The climb itself was nice and we sat at the top for a while watching the trains go by until we decided it was time for something to eat and a drink. Maccers here we come.



24) Southall Gasworks – The Straight – 1 Holder

Southall Gas Works is a site of around 88 acres in Southall, west London, formerly occupied by a plant for the manufacture of town gas. The site is roughly triangular, between a railway, a canal and residential development. It lies along the south bank of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal, close to its junction with the main line of the canal to the Thames at Brentford. It is on the north side of the Great Western Main Line between Southall and Hayes stations, close to the junction with the branch line which originally ran to Brentford Dock. Across the canal is the recently established Minet Country Park.

The gas works was originally constructed by the Brentford Gas Company, opening in 1869. It was required to meet rapidly increasing demand in Middlesex, which outstripped the capacity of the company's original works on the Thames at Brentford.

The gas works was originally established at the western end of the full site, and progressively expanded to the east over sites originally used for brickyards and chemical works. It initially consisted of a retort house and a 480,000 cubic feet gas holder. In 1881 a second retort house was built and in 1885 an ammonium sulphate plant.

In 1878 no. 2 holder was built with a capacity of 1,130,000 cubic feet. In 1885 a Hurd holder was built with a capacity of 2,100,000 cubic feet. In 1892 holder no. 4 was erected, to take 3,950,000 cubic feet of gas. In 1899 a carburetted water gas plant was added with a capacity of 3,000,000 cubic feet per day, and in 1903 another retort house with 200 retorts.

During World War 1 chemical plants were constructed to produce oil gas tar, coal tar and crude benzoyl. In 1916 the capacity was increased, and in 1920 Blue Water Gas plant was added.

In 1926 the Brentford Gas Company was taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Company. In the early 1930s a 7,500,000 cubic feet waterless holder was constructed. This holder, which is over 300 feet high, remained as a major local landmark.

By 1935 the chemical works had closed and had been replaced by a smaller works further east. Whilst not as large as the GLCC's Beckton Products Works, this made a significant contribution to the Company’s production, particularly of creosote and road tar. The works was situated on the opposite side of London to Beckton, which facilitated the company’s road tar spraying operations on that side of the metropolis. Southall Products Works continued to manufacture ammonium sulphate until 1946.

Following nationalisation of the gas industry in 1949 the plant came under the control of the North Thames Gas Board. Construction of oil gasification plant began and by 1951 up to 300,000 cubic feet of gas a day was being produced in this way, primarily at times of peak demand.

In the early 1960s plant was installed at Southall to make town gas from a feedstock of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) obtained from Fawley refinery via a 70-mile pipeline. The first major oil storage tank, of 544,000 imperial gallons, was installed in 1960. In 1963, the catalytic reforming plant had a production capacity of 60,000,000 cubic feet per day. Catalytic rich gas plant was installed in 1966 with a capacity of 30,000,000 cubic feet per day.

The Products Works ceased distilling tar and was closed down in 1968. With the move to North Sea gas the gas works closed in 1973, leaving gas distribution and storage as the main on site functions. The site passed into the hands of British Gas Plc in 1973 and subsequently to National Grid plc.

The gasworks was used as a space centre fuelling area for Doctor Who in 1970. The site was used in an episode of The Sweeney in 1975 and in spin-off film Sweeney! in 1977. It was also twice used in Blake's 7, and once in Secret Army.

Sadly we got to this one a few days late, maybe 28, who knows but it was on its way down. Yeah we fucked up and should have got there sooner. Originally there had been many holders on this site but by the time we got there only one remained. @Rapid_Ascent and I parked on a side street and had a wander to find a sensible point of access. After making our way in through the building site and climbing over fences and ducking through various gates we arrive at the bottom of the holder. The site was fairly active and I had to climb up onto the digger to snap a few pictures. We almost got busted, fuck off, this isn't happening we aren't getting busted now; I said to RA as we skulked off and make our way back out of the site.




I’m gutted missed all of the Southall gas holders but check out this awesome report from @ojay


25) Rotherhithe Gasworks – Salter Road – 1 Holder

The Rotherhithe Gasworks was established in 1851 following the foundation of the Surrey Consumers Gas Company (also known as the Surrey Consumers Gas Association) in 1849, opening in 1855 in competition with Phoenix, occupying the land that had formerly housed the Daniel Bennett and Sons Oil Works. The small company already owned a small gasworks in Deptford, and with the establishment of the Rotherhithe site could supply the Rotherhithe peninsula, extend into Bermondsey and eventually parts of Southwark. At the time of construction, a wharf was built to accompany the gasworks, and an iron bridge was built to transport coal across Rotherhithe Street to the gasworks beyond, in barrows. The coal was shipped in from the northeast, where it was mined. The gasometers were established at that time. Numbers 1 and 2 had a capacity of 1,600,000 cubic feet between them, there were three by 1868. In 1879 the South Metropolitan Gas Company took over the site.

Rotherhithe gas holder is located a small patch of land just above the Rotherhithe tunnel, fairly easy to miss if you take the wrong turning off of the roundabout as you come out of the tunnel. You almost have to turn back on yourself to find it.

It was a busy Saturday lunchtime in London but I was on a mission to get a few done on this day, this one had a fairly high palisade fence around it so it took a bit of time to get over it. Once over the fence I was met by a friendly and inquisitive fox, yelping away and following me around. Well until I started climbing the holder, then he just hung around at the bottom. This holder is still fairly sturdy still works covered in a few radio masts, looking out over the Thames and out across towards Canary Wharf it’s a pretty damn good view. I should really have done it at night but when it's daytime it and you have another in your sights I guess it has to be




26) Bell Green Gasworks – Sydenham – 2 Holders

The surviving Victorian Bell Green gasholders at the Bell Green Gas Works, Bell Green, Sydenham were designed by the distinguished gas engineer Charles Gandon and built in 1882 and 1890. The structures have been considered by Historic England but were ultimately decided on April 11, 2017 not to be included on Historic England’s statutory list. The gasholders are also the subject of an extensive campaign for their preservation, supported by the Victorian Society, prominent industrial Engineering Historians, some local Councillors, amenity societies and local residents. As a result the Council’s Conservation team have assessed the historic significance in line with adopted the Local List criteria.

It is understood that the gasworks were formally decommissioned in the late 1980’s and its remediation in the 1990’s enabled the development of much of the west part of the site for redevelopment. The gasholders were formally decommissioned in 2012. The site which currently accommodates the two gas holders did not form part of the phased planning consents for the wider Gas Works site, being the final plot to come forward for redevelopment. The Bell Green works were divided into three phases


Numbers 7 & 8 Bell Green gasholders are late nineteenth century wrought-iron lattice guide framed structures used for the storage of gas. They are located in the land to the east of Perry Hill SE6 north of the junction with Alan Pegg place, within the Bellingham Ward of Sydenham. The immediate land and setting of the structures include the Grade II listed Livesey Memorial Hall dated from 1911, and its grounds which include a bowling lawn, a separately listed boundary wall, and the grade II listed War memorial constructed in 1920 dedicated to workers who lost their lives in WW1. To the west is the land used as a retail park and ancillary car parking. 7.2 The entire site collectively formerly supported a gasworks built by the South Suburban Gas Company. No.7 is thought to be the first gasholder built on site between 1881 and 1882, and No.8 being built in 1890 as demand in the area increased. Later, as further demand increased more gasholders were built, five more in total. Nos. 7&8 are the last surviving holders on the site, and within the borough. It is understood that the Crystal Palace & District Gas Company first opened the gas works in 1853. George Livesey, a major figure in the history of gas production who is credited as initiating significant technical advances in the design and technology of gasholders and storage, including those that survive in Bell Green, was appointed in 1885 as the chairman of the company, and is responsible for the expansion of the gasworks in Bell Green. The two surviving gasholders were designed by Charles Gandon, manager of the Bell Green gas works from 1877 until 1897, although there is evidence that Livesey had a major hand in parts of the design. Gandon lived at Abergaldie Lodge, next to gasholder no.7 where the spine road, now called Alan Pegg Place enters the site.

Bell Green gas holders are located in Sydenham in Kent a little bit sketchy as it is located on a really busy road, opposite sports direct and next door to a McDonald’s and a shopping complex. I dumped the car in the car park at the supermarket and waited my time. In the end I got fed up with waiting and just went for it. It was at this point @Pinkman told me him and @vikkie were in the shops nearby and would keep an eye out for me climbing the holders lol

I wandered over the road and jumped the palisade gate. Once over the fence I dodged through the various obstacles and made my way towards the holders. Luckily the busy traffic had everyone’s attention and I was soon up top snapping away. Once id finished I headed down and made use of the convenient McDonald’s to kill my hunger lol




27) Stanmore Gas Holder Station – Marsh Lane – 3 Holders

Stanmore Gas Works located in Marsh Lane was originally opened in 1858 as the Great Stanmore Gas Co. Ltd. It was built by a Mr. Penny on behalf of J.W. Chapman who also operated a works in harrow. It was amalgamated with the Harrow works in 1894 as the Harrow and Stanmore Gas Co. whereupon it was closed. However it remained as a holder station and booster plant, and more modern holders were built. It had no rail or water connection making the manufacture of coal gas difficult and coal had to be delivered in carts. The company operated a workers co-partnership scheme from 1912. A cottage at the gas works gate is listed and three holders still remain.

Stanmore was pretty uneventful, when I say uneventful, getting in was a bit of a mission over various gates, across various poles and finally dropping back down over some tall palisade made it all like an episode of TV’s wipe-out.
The three pancake holders of the Stanmore side are pretty dull, only single level and painted a boring green. The site itself was interesting with loads of old signage and lights knocking about.



28) Kensington Gasworks – Kensal Green – 2 Holders

Where the Grand Junction Canal and the main line railway to Paddington diverge from their parallel course there is a teardrop shaped patch of land bounded on the east by Ladbroke Grove. In 1845 the Western Gas Company built a gas works there facing All Souls Cemetery on the other side of the canal. When North Kensington was developed for housing in the second half of the 19th century the Gas Works sat waiting at its northern edge. And there it stayed as London grew around it. In 1936 the Gas and Light Company built a progressive housing development on the Ladbroke Grove edge of the site powered by the wonder of gas, Kensal House, but more of that another day.

Today only a couple of gasometers remain overlooking the cemetery. Most of the site is taken up by a Sainsbury’s super store. But in 1970 although gas production had ceased the owners seem to have been wondering what to do with the gas works, and denying rumours that the whole site would be given over to housing.

In March 2017, it was announced TfL was considering a Crossrail station in Kensal on site of a former gasworks and would be between Old Oak Common and Paddington.


Kensal Green gas holder turned out to be a bit of a bugger located next door to very busy Sainsbury's, next to the busy gasworks site and alongside the canal, entrance to Kensal Green is fairly complicated. A case of having to pick the right spot. We decided to aim for alongside the Canal. This meant dodging Hipsters, Fashion joggers, the homeless and various boat dwellers, when our time came it was over a sketchy Barbwire fence that got us in. Virtually falling into the base of the gas holder was pretty good for us and climbing was now pretty standard. Sitting up top of this one as the sun went down was pretty decent, we got to watch the boats, the trains and decide what we would have for dinner from Sainsbury’s, or would have had if it wasn’t closed by the time we climbed down and made our way there.





29) Fulham Gasworks – Sands End Lane – 1 Holder

The gasworks at Sands End, Fulham, was established in 1824 when the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company purchased the Sandford Manor estate. It was situated in a previously agricultural area which had begun to be industrialised with the development of the Kensington Canal. The Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company had been founded three years earlier in 1821, quickly becoming a major company with works on the Regent’s Canal at Shoreditch and St Pancras. An initial pair of gasholders was erected at Sands End in 1825 by the company engineer Samuel Clegg. They had free-standing cast-iron guide standards that were tee-shaped in plan and triangular in elevation, becoming known as ‘tripods’. These were designed on the principle that they would serve as buttresses supporting the bell as it rose up from the tank. They were possibly the first of their kind, going on to be built by the company at its three works. The completion of the canal and construction of a retort house in 1829 allowed gas production to begin on site; prior to this the gasholders had stored gas manufactured at the St Pancras Gasworks. The works continued to expand under Clegg's successors. No 2 Gasholder (Grade II*-listed) was built in 1829-30 and in 1856 an office block (Grade II-listed) was added. Between 1853 and 1867 a further three gasholders were erected, Nos 3, 4 and 5 all since demolished or replaced along with several more retort houses and other plant buildings. Barges delivered coal to the site via a lock leading off Chelsea Creek on the north side of the River Thames.

The Fulham Gasworks are shown on the 1869 OS map with five gasholders, retort houses, offices and ancillary buildings, between Sands End Lane and the West London Extension Railway of the Great Western Railway. In 1876 the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company was absorbed into the larger Gas Light and Coke Company. Two years later the gasworks expanded to the south of Sands End Lane, where two more holders, Nos 6 and 7 were built in 1878 and 1880, followed in 1927 by a research laboratory building (Grade II-listed) designed in Neo-classical style by the architect Sir Walter Tapper. The company was nationalised in 1949 as the North Thames Gas Board, one of twelve regional suppliers under an umbrella body known as the Gas Council, which built its London Research Station at Sands End in 1968. By this time most of the early gasholders had been reconstructed as spiral-guided holders, ultimately leaving only Nos 2 and 7. Decommissioning of the gasworks began in 2010, with the eastern part of the site cleared for redevelopment, and the remaining buildings let for other uses.


No 2 Gasholder was designed by John Kirkham, the engineer of the Imperial Gas Light and Coke Company, and built in 1829-1830. The guide standards or tripods had roundels, gradually diminishing in size, set within the open-webbed cast-iron frames to provide added structural strength; this feature is absent from the earlier relatively plain tripods of 1825. There were twelve tripods standing 30 feet high around the 100 feet diameter tank. The gasholder had a total capacity of 226,000 cubic feet, which was record-breaking at the time. In 1830 a gasholder of 50 feet diameter and 40,000 cubic feet capacity was considered large; the straight jump from 50 feet to 100 feet at Fulham No 2 was subsequently described in The Engineer as a ‘remarkable feat in design. Gas company meeting minutes indicate that the contractors were a Mr Ward, junior, and a Mr Wright. The bell rose in a single-lift from a brick tank about 30 feet deep. This bell was constructed of a frame of wrought-iron trusses with a central cast-iron tubular ‘king post’ and was covered in wrought-iron sheets. The frame is considered to be original but re-sheeting was carried out in 1882 with some further replacement of the sheeting in 1949 when an inspection and survey of the gasholder was carried out by the North Thames Gas Board. At that time it was deemed to be in a ‘remarkably good state of preservation. Prior to the repairs in 1949, the gasholder had been in constant use for nearly 120 years since its original construction. The bells of early gasholders used rings running on guide rods also referred to as ‘slippers’, rather than rollers and rails, and this feature survives in the lower guides of Fulham No 2; the upper guides have rollers. Fulham No 2 Gasholder was in use until 1971 and is the oldest surviving gasholder in the world.

Fulham gasworks, originally home to five great gasholders and now the location of the oldest surviving gas holder in the world and one of the most splendid it's red and black painted colours make this one really special.

The area had changed a bit since my days of clubbing in Bagley’s and was a little unrecognisable. We found the gasworks and soon found a way into this site. Getting in wasn't too bad just took a bit of time. I made our way through the new development towards the rain filled holes in the floor where the previous gas holders were. We made our way towards the red and black one and stupidly set off a talking alarm on our way.

We hid from secca until he went back to his shed and carried on towards our goal. The red and black tripods of the world’s oldest surviving gasholder. Pointing up out of the ground, our version of Indian Jones’s lost ark if you will.



30) Wandsworth Gas Holder Station – Smugglers Way – 1 Holder

The Wandsworth gasworks was built in 1834 on the Surrey bank of the River Thames near Wandsworth Bridge. Its supplied Wandsworth, Putney and part of Battersea. The undertaking became the Wandsworth and Putney Gaslight and Coke Company in 1854 and was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1856.
In 1912 the company merged with the Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gaslight Company and the Epsom and Ewell Gas Company to form the Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Epsom District Gas Company. In 1924 it bought land at Worcester Park to build more gas holders.

In 1931 the company took over the Kingston upon Thames Gas Company and the Sutton Gas Company and retitled itself the Wandsworth and District Gas Company. In 1936 it took over the Leatherhead Gas and Lighting Company and the Walton upon Thames and Weybridge Gas Company.

In 1949 the Wandsworth and District Gas Company was nationalised under the Gas Act 1948 and became part of the West Surrey Division of the South Eastern Gas Board.


Wandsworth gas holder located on the dodgiliy named Smugglers Way sits on the edge of an industrial estate and behind an office block this one wasn't too bad. As per normal for a roadside one we just had to wait for a gap in the traffic to give us time to get over the fence. This is one big diameter pancake gas holder. We had to avoid any night shift office workers gazes as we quickly climbed the ladders and took some pics. As we finished up here it was yet again time for food, Subway this time if I remember rightly.



31) Carshalton Gas Holder Station – Wrythe Lane – 1 Holder

No history on this one I’m afraid.


Carshalton gas holder was the last port of call on a busy day, Located on the main road through a housing estate this one was a bit of a pain. Mainly due to traffic on the road, when the car traffic was quite, the foot traffic wasn’t. Eventually we scrambled over the fence and over the top of the crappy spiny plastic security fence toppers. Going up the ladder and around yet more security measures eventually got us to the top, just as it started to rain, we quickly grabbed some pics and made our escape home and back to Essex.



32) Whytleafe Gasworks – Godstone Road – 1 Holder

It was as early as 1869 that a local entrepreneur thought up the idea of getting a gasworks built in the valley to supply gas to a growing community. He reasoned that a site near to a railway, and opposite the Riddlesdown Quarry limeworks, and near a stream would be ideal. Mr Young duly sold some of his surplus land for this a development. So Gashouse Lane was born, opposite the Old Barn to the south of the quarry itself opposite the Rose & Crown Inn. After the demise of the gasworks, the road name reverted to Old Barn Lane.

It was four years before the first gasholder was erected on the site, with mains pipes laid under the dirt road to Caterham, and a further three years before a second holder was put up next to it. In 1896 the gas main beneath the road was upgraded to twelve inches diameter, and a year after that further land was purchased, on the other side of the road, and a third gasholder put up pretty much on the site where one stands to this day. At about this time, more land for gasworks use was bought alongside this new gasholder.

In 1905 the Whyteleafe Gas Works were taken over by the Croydon Gas Company, which soon relinquished the site after dismantling the two gasholders on the west side of the Godstone road. They kept the land on the other side, and the South Eastern Gas Board put up a new gasholder in 1953, using the nearby buildings to house equipment to add a distinctive smell to the gas. This was required by law when the area changed from town gas (with its natural noxious odour) to natural gas (which has very little smell in its natural state).


Whyteleafe was a pain the arse. We actually visited it twice the first time we bailed mainly because we were fucking knackered, The second time we rocked up there it wasn't quite so bad albeit a little cold and a little damp. As we all know damp palisade is never a good thing and this site has the tallest palisade I've seen at any site.

Once over the palisade it was pretty straightforward we made our way inland up the stairs. Jeeeeez it was fucking dark at the top, we didn’t stay for long it's getting late and bed was calling.



33) Epsom Gas Holder Station – East Street – 2 Holders

William Chandler and George Bishop had a deed of settlement drawn up on 31 December 1839 that set out the aims of their co-partnership to light Epsom and Ewell with gas having raised capital of £3,000 in 300 shares of £10 each. They were joined by a number of additional subscribers from the district some of whom took up only a single share.

Trading commenced in 1840 and consisted of buying large quantities of coal from which gas was extracted for supply, with lamps and meters let out on hire, to the inhabitants of Epsom and Ewell. Tar and coke arose as by-products and were offered for sale. Initially a main would have been laid into Epsom High Street, in time to light up the town in celebration of Queen Victoria's wedding on 10 February 1840, and gradually extended to meet demand. In 1841, when the gas works were being described as imperfect and inadequate, plans were drawn up for improvements.

On 21 October 1846 the company resolved to reduce the price of gas from 13/6d to 12/- per 1,000 cubic feet consumed.

The logistics of bringing in coal by road with horse-drawn carts would have been eased after 1847 when the railway reached Epsom. Supplies were obtained from Durham under annual contracts for delivery at Battersea wharf.


After 36 years, the works had become "thoroughly out of repair", since much of the equipment was old-fashioned and obsolete, the plant was almost unworkable. Business operations, leased out to Robert Jones, for 7 years from 1 April 1876, were expected to produce fixed rate dividends on the share capital.

George White of Ashley House, Registrar of Epsom County Court, became bare trustee of the company's various properties. Nevertheless, as Clerk to the local Board of Health, he entered complaints to the management from time to time about inadequacy of street lighting and sewer fouling. With regard to the discharge of malodorous water, he was told the smell came from contact with gas in the holder and was "innocuous"!

Much was to be changed following the Epsom and Ewell Gas Act of 1877, which set up a new company from 1 October 1877 before liquidation of the original co-partnership commenced.

During 1881, the principal gasholder had been increased in capacity from 42,000 to 93,000 cubic feet, and enlargement of the smaller one put in progress. A new coal store was erected in parallel with the retort house. An 8 inch main had been laid to Ewell with one of 4 inches in diameter to Ashtead. Thomas Lucas, who had become Lord of the Manor in 1880, facilitated the latter by an agreement to take a minimum of 100 pounds worth of gas each year and allow the supply to pass through Ashtead Park and on to the village.

Although several gas cookers had been demonstrated at the 1851 Great Exhibition, they were expensive and did not come into general use until appliances could be rented from a gas company. Epsom & Ewell did not arrange to exhibit a selection of gas stoves to be let on hire until 1885.

Robert Jones, joined in business by a son, Henry Edward Jones, negotiated an extension of his lease for three years up to 31 March 1886. Subsequently they were invited to become Directors of the company, with a "modern works". Around this time the company declined to provide a supply to Lower Ashtead whilst resisting an attempt by the Leatherhead Gas Co to advance into its territory from the west along Barnett Wood Lane.

By 1888 larger pipes became necessary towards Banstead to supply the Kensington and Chelsea School.

The price of gas had been reduced to 3/8d per 1000 cubic feet for 1898. In the following year, London County Council contracted for the supply of at least five million cubic feet of gas to Horton Manor Asylum.

On 18 April 1912, a Bill was introduced for amalgamating Wandsworth and Putney Gas Light & Coke Company, The Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gas Light Company and the Epsom and Ewell Gas Company. This brought the independence of Epsom and Ewell to an end.

Epsom gas holder gas holders are a pretty pair, a nice pancake alongside a small frame holder. Located on the edge of a multi-story car park, it was an easy target. The gasworks looked like it had been a playground for the local scrotes and the site was pretty smashed to bits.
For a change this site had no palisade, wooo-hooo, however it was a very sketchy cross link fence topped with some ancient and brittle rusty barbed wire. We took our lives in our hands and jumped over to the ladder. Once up top with it being a clear night we chilled and watched the stars for a bit




34) Woodford Gas Holder Station – Snakes Lane – 1 Holder

The Chigwell and Woodford Bridge Gas Co. was formed in 1863 and gradually extended its area. By 1867 it was supplying gas to Buckhurst Hill. In 1873 it was reincorporated as the Chigwell, Loughton and Woodford Gas Co. Its works were in Snakes Lane, Woodford. In 1912 it was taken over by the Gas Light and Coke Co.

Woodford gas holder busy probably the most boring of the lot. A single pancake holder no raising sections, no ladders, nothing it was a little boring. However the stores were interesting with loads of gas work paraphernalia, old lights, old fencing and just general signage.



Well that was the London Holders done and if you’ve been keeping up you will have worked out it’s a grand total of 62 actual holders.

But 62 is such a non-event of a number and this is where things changed again. I’d climbed a few non London ones too in the process of knocking them off, so I decided to add them to this tally too.

But that still didn’t make a decent round number.

Fuck it, let’s go for the round 100.

Here goes with the rest

35) Braintree Gas Holder Station – Lakes Road – 2 Holders

In the past, the rail line was depended upon to bring in large quantities of material and send out finished goods to customers - which ultimately created a base of industrial companies in the surrounding area. The types of products that were dispatched across Braintree were diverse including windows, bailey bridges, fertilisers and even bananas.

The history of the site can be linked back to the Courtaulds when Samuel Courtauld was quick to take advantage of the railway by repurchasing his father’s old mill at Chapel Hill in 1843 and they continued to be one of the largest local employers in silk manufacturing.
The largest factory within the vicinity of the site was to the north of the railway line from Witham. Lake and Elliot’s Albion Works had its own electricity generating station – built in 1917 they were the first to provide electricity to the town and continued to do so until 1946.



Alongside the site was the Braintree Gas Works which had replaced the original plant in New Street because it was easier to access and harness the coal supplies from the goods yard. The gas works can be seen on an Ordnance survey map from 1951. The gas holder station can still be seen from the site today although the rest of the land

They were sat in the corner of the local coal yard when I was a kid, as the trains went from coal to electric the yard closed and sat empty for years, as kids in the late 80’s / early 90’s we built BMX ramps in there and rode the life out of the yard. Always staying away from the gasometers as our parents told us they were dangerous.

I can’t say I noticed when they disappeared but over the years the yard got redeveloped and flats and houses appeared. I guess I just assumed they had been pulled down…..

Well I’d assumed wrongly….

A few years ago whilst sat in traffic, I noticed through the modern posh flats, the framework climbing into the sky. At the time I didn’t know climbing them was a thing. After a quick look on here I realised they were.

Well it happened, I climbed them. Not much to tell really, access was easy and they were ok to climb. The view over the town was amazing.




36) Uxbridge Road Gasworks – Slough – 1 Holder

Akzo Nobel have said they no longer store hazardous substances. This has been confirmed on site so the existing Consent can be removed. The gasholder has not been used for many years and it is to be removed.

The adjacent former gas works site owned by The National Grid and Cadent is subject to a separate Consent because of the gas holder. But the holder, owned by National Grid, has not been used for many years and it is understood that it will not be used in the future. Nationally storage of gas now takes place within the gas distribution pipe network and at strategic locations. Akzo Nobel and the Council are liaising with National Grid about revocation of the latter’s Consent.
They confirm that the holder is not in current use and that demolition is planned. The HSE restrictions around the holder overlap the Akzo Nobel site as well as the former gas works site and will hinder redevelopment of both sites if not removed via revocation of the current Consent.

Slough or Slog-H as my dad use to call it wasn’t really on the list, However I happened to be exploring the old ICI site


I stumbled into the Oxbridge Road gas holder station. So mid-explore there I was with a choice to make. Do I continue in ICI risk a capture and loose the holder or climb the holder and risk losing ICI. Fuck it! The holder won. I decided me to jump to the holder, after all everyone loves a gas holder, it was also a good place to grab some externals of ICI. As it happened I didn’t get caught at either place so win win for me.




37) Shoeburyness Gas Holder Station – Elm Road – 1 Holder

Shoeburyness works served an area of under two square miles through some twelve miles of main. Each of the merged undertakings of the Gas Light & Coke Company had, of course, a tradition of its own, and retained some of that distinctiveness even under nationalisation. Shoeburyness, for example, had a long military tradition and gas had first been supplied there by the War Department in 1866. Subsequently, a private company was formed to serve the town and this, in turn, was taken over by the Shoeburyness Urban District Council. In 1933 control passed to the Southend Corporation and Shoeburyness was thus the only municipally owned undertaking to be absorbed by North Thames, although in the country as a whole about one-third of all gas undertakings were municipally owned before nationalisation. It was something of an anomaly that although the Southend Corporation owned the Shoeburyness gasworks, the town of Southend itself lay within Gas Light & Coke Company territory . In 1939, the Corporation found it more convenient to buy gas for Shoeburyness direct from the company and gas-making at Shoeburyness then ceased.


The site is in a suitable location for housing, but the decommissioning of the gas holder in the longer term is uncertain and removal of equipment and contamination are likely to make the site economically unviable for the foreseeable future. The site was finally decommissioned in 2009 but the holder still remains. It could store thousands of cubic litres of gas, but people living nearby say it has been a blight on the landscape. Locals complained that the gasholder has blocked out sunlight and interrupted TV signals for more than 50 years.

I’d been in Shoeburyness dropping off some car parts for someone so I decided to check this one out while I was there. The gas holder station was a biggun and a little intimidating as I squeezed through the gate and walked towards it. Bollocks I couldn’t get up the stairs as there is a metal cage around the base of the stairs, eventually I found a way to climb this one to get me back onto the staircase and up onto the top wow what a result gas and trains both in the same location. I sat on top of the holder and watched the trains for a while, almost falling asleep lying on dome, before getting down and heading off.





38) Chelmsford Gasworks – Wharf Road – 2 Holders

The Gasworks site forms part of a wider area that was originally occupied by the Chelmsford Gas Company.

The northeast gasholder (114) was constructed circa 1919 and the south west gasholder dates from circa 1950. Gasholder 114 has a guide‐frame of 12 wrought iron lattice standards that support two tiers of horizontal members formed of lattice girders with diagonal bracing rods.

In a recent submission to Chelmsford City Council, Historic England said:

“Historic England are concerned that the proposals for total demolition are premature, but should adequate justification be forthcoming for this approach Historic England would have no objections to the total demolition of the southwestern gasholder (115) or the associated structures. In relation to the north eastern gasholder (114), however, we consider its lattice frame provides a striking, positive contribution to the character and appearance of the conservation area which reflects its industrial heritage.”

Gasholder 114 - is to be carefully dismantled and used in the eventual redevelopment of the site into new homes, as well as the construction of a new bridge across the River Chelmer, connecting to the Baddow Road car park. Chelmsford City Council, which bought the site from National Grid in April after 13 years of negotiations, will use money from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to transform the empty space into a brand new development.


Chelmsford gasworks is another local site to me, located about 15 miles from home, I have driven by these two hundreds of times. In fact before they closed the nearby Wharf road carpark it had been a hangout of boy racers for decades.

Having been put off of climbing these ones when a local explorer fell foul of the cops a few years ago for just being in the site, We had to get this right and not get busted. Well we climbed it, Jesus fuck it was rotten definitely the worst out of all of the ones we climbed. It was dire, bits were falling off as we climbed and you could feel the whole thing swaying with every step. I closed my eyes more than once and tied not to imagine what would happen if it fell over. We could fully understand why they cut the bottom of the ladder off on this one.

Since we climbed them they have been taken down, The Pancake has been scrapped and the fame holder has been taken away to be restored. Hopefully to be put it up as a feature at the start of the new housing development very similar to what has been done in King's Cross.




39) Charleroi Gas Holder- Charleroi Belgium - 1 Holder

I’m afraid there isn’t much in the way for history for this one apart from it being attached to a derelict power station in Charleroi in Belgium

Check this link for a report on the power station


The holder itself was nice and easy, getting to it through the mas of undergrowth and trees was a pain in the arse. I went up the staircase once I got near in it and was lucky enough to find the side door open and quietly crept in to grab some pics.




40) Harlow Gas Holder Station – River Way – 2 Holders

Gas was brought to Harlow in the 1850s by the Harlow and Sawbridgeworth Gas Light and Coke Co. The Bishop's Stortford, Harlow, and Epping Gas and Electricity Co, which appear to have taken over the earlier company, supplied gas from 1910.

Harlow gas holder station located in River Way in Harlow wasn't too much of a mission, Hidden behind the local Volkswagen and Peugeot dealerships there is plenty going on for people not even to look at little ole me The site consists of two average pancake holders both with extra palisade around the stairs, Oh what joy!

Being a busy town, I was left well on my own apart from the occasional rush of the trains bringing the commuters back home. It was quite a nice one this, an easy climb and stress-free.

I finished up at Harlow dropped over the palisade and headed off towards Broxbourne this being my next target for the evening.




41) Broxbourne Gas Holder Station – Medway Hoddesdon – 1 Holder

The Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey Gas Company was formed in 1843, the Waltham Cross works probably dates from 1850. The company was taken over by the Tottenham and District Gas Co in 1929. The Waltham Cross site was only used as a holder station after the large works at Ponders End was opened.

The Hoddesdon Works in Broxbourne were opened in 1837 and was taken over by the Tottenham and District Gas Company in 1932. A gas works was on the St Catherine’s Estate, on the site of East Lodge. It was opened in 1847. This was replaced by a new works between Spital Brook and the railway in 1886. This site had become a holder station by the early 1960's.

Broxbourne Holder station wasn’t a bad one, the weather was good and I already had a £3 Tesco meal deal in my bag ready for dinner. It was a typical pancake affair but surrounded by loads and loads of fences it must've been a typical hang out for kids back in the day. It also runs parallel with a busy section of railway track with high-speed trains coming passed with a regular pace.




42) Gillingham Gas Holder Station – Pier Way – 2 Holders

The gasworks at Gillingham were used to store coal gas before the use of natural gas. Each town would have their own gasometers initially. The gasometers were owned by the Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham Gas Company, which were known previously as The Rochester and Chatham Gas Light Company, formed in 1818.

In June 1935 the engineer, general manager and secretary, Mr. C. Valon Bennett, of the Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham Gas Company attended the AGM of the Institution of Gas Engineers, where he was President, to give a talk on the question of the unified control of gas undertakings by holding companies.
1938 saw the decision discussed at the sixth Ordinary Meeting of the South-Eastern Gas Corporation to remove the bulk of the supply to be removed from the Sittingbourne Company and Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham Gas Company. The following year it was stated that the works of the Sittingbourne Company, at Murston, had been closed down and a bulk supply was given from the Gillingham Works. A main was being laid from Sittingbourne to Sheerness with the aim of the bulk supply from Gillingham being extended to the Sheppey Company.


In 1941 The Times reported that Charles Ernest Metcalf, a station engineer of the Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham Gas Company, was awarded an M.B.E. for rescue work and William Edward Divers, retort house foreman of the same company was awarded a British Empire Medal. The newspaper states:

During an air raid incendiary bombs fell on a gas-works and started numerous fires. Mr. Metcalf, accompanied by Divers, climbed a large holder, 147ft. high. Together they put out a fierce fire and sealed the hole. Divers sustained burns on the hands and arms. They then went to the crown of a second holder and stopped another leak. While these proceedings were taking place bombs were falling in the surrounding district.

In 1955 it was reported that waste gas from the Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham Gas Company at the time was being burnt was to be harnessed to drive generators which cost £1,200 a year to be run.

So I was heading back from Dover direction and I decided to see what gas holders would be almost en-route to home. Well Gillingham was as were Orpington and Bromley. Ooo my first multi hit.

I rocked up at Gillingham holder and proceeded to climb the multitude of palisade fences to get me to the base of the stunning blue No.3 holder. There are two holders on this site No.4 being a pancake type. Once at the base of No.3 I had to part climb the stairs and swing myself around the security gate and back on to the stairs and then up the aged stairs. The stairs themselves were a little odd with having small steps that made them a pain to walk up. This was not the first one I had come across that was suffering from the good old tinworm. Yup she’s a rotter. I made my way carefully up the stairs until I reached the top to be greeted by the awesome weather vane. I eagerly snapped away and then returned to good ole Terafirma. I did whilst up the holder notice I could actually hop the wall into the marina and walk out past the confused security guard and off to the main road. This I did quickly calmly and with a relative ease.





43) Lowestoft Gas Holder Station – Gasworks road – 1 Holder

The Gas Works at Ness Point in Lowestoft were first established in 1838 by Mr. James Malam. In 1850 they were taken over by The Lowestoft Water, Gas and Market Company and produced gas until 1963. With the gasworks officially closing in 1970. One Spiral gas holder still stands proud on Ness Point although is no longer in use.

Lowestoft was an easy one, a small Pancake holder located on the edge of what was once a thriving seaside town. Located on the obviously titled Gas works road it wasn’t too hard to find. In fact the longest part of doing this one was actually taking the pictures and admiring the view out to the sea.





After climbing this one we headed off to Yarmouth to climb the much more ornate holder there.

44) Great Yarmouth Gasworks – Barrack Road – 2 Holders

This gas holder was built in 1884, originally on a different site but moved to the Barrack road site after collapsing during construction in 1885.
Built by RP Spice the frame holder consists of a steel drum in a cast-iron and steel frame. The frame is composed of 14 cast columns in 3 sections bolted together through flange drums. Between the columns are 3 tiers of steel lattice girders. The gas holder has 3 lifts with rollers bearing on rails bolted to the inner face of the frame columns. The lower cylinder has makers' plates: `R.P. Spice Engineer, London, 1884' and: `S. Cutler & Sons, Contractors London, 1884’.


This Gas holder is a very fine example with ornate metal finials and uprights of frame all braced with a lattice pattern. Since the loss of the example at Gas Hill, Norwich this must be one of the best in the county.

When asked about the future of Yarmouth’s holder, Matthew Pearce, operations programme manager at National Grid Property, said: “We own and manage over 300 sites across the UK many of which are former gasworks, the site in Great Yarmouth is one of a number of sites which contains a listed gasholder. No gasholder dismantling work is planned for at this site.

After visiting Lowestoft we decided to head to the nearby holder at Great Yarmouth. Wow she’s a doozy. One of the prettiest and most ornate of all the holders we visited. Stunning in a way that only a collection of rusting steel covered in flaky paint can be. The Holder itself was simply stunning, from the ornate cappings to the cast iron depth gauge, this was high on the list of my favourites. The views from the top are simply awesome, providing you don’t look back towards the town lol.





From the top we could see the amusements and a mad glass structure.


Within an hour and after a spot of fish and chips we found to be the now derelict Winter Gardens, well it would have been rude not to eh…. shame it ended up spunked all over facebook.


45) Swan village Gasworks – West Bromwich – 2 Holders

In 1825, the Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Light Company was founded by act of parliament to manufacture and supply gas to Birmingham and a number of surrounding towns, including West Bromwich. The Old Works were the first part of the complex to be constructed, and when completed in 1829 were the largest in the country.

Coal was originally delivered to the Old Works by the Ridgacre Canal, with a basin connected to the canal constructed to allow the loading and unloading of coal barges. Eventually the railway arrived in 1854 with the opening of the Great Western Railway's Birmingham to Wolverhampton line. Swan Village Station was situated on the line, next to the works. From the station branched the Great Bridge line linking up with the South Staffordshire Line which ran to Dudley. The Swan Village Basin line also branched off just before the station at Swan Village that fed into the works. This line was solely used for freight transportation only. With the railways in place, more gas production was possible, thus lowering the price of gas for consumers. Canal traffic diminished as a result.

Over the years, changing working patterns and the increase in demand for gas following nationalisation in 1949 meant that the works needed to expand. A decision was made by the Gas committee of Birmingham City Council, and the New Works were opened in 1953. It was fortunate that surplus land bought a century and a quarter previously allowed for expansion. The increased rail traffic necessitated extensive new sidings outside the works to accommodate additional wagons.

With the discovery of natural gas in the North Sea during the 1960s, coal gas became a thing of the past. The development of the National Grid meant that delivering coal by railway was an out of date method, thus the Swan Village Basin line was removed. The Great Bridge line closed in 1964 and the Swan Village Station eventually facing closure in 1972.

Little is left of the works today. The Old Works were demolished as the area around Swan Village was developed into an industrial estate. The only surviving relics of the New Works are two gas holders and some brickwork on what remains of the original route of Swan Lane, the lane itself has fallen victim to industrial development. A third gas holder was installed at a later date, but has since been demolished.


Swan Lane gas holders are located in West Bromwich on the outskirts of Birmingham on a housing estate they can only describe as a rival to the set of the TV program shameless. It’s a fucking shit hole. I was expecting Frank Gallagher to rock up at any time.

As expected for such a rundown area we soon found a way in through some already broken palisade, then over some chain-link and in. Although fully aware that just the other side of the frame holder was a security guard and his loudly barking yappie dog, I fucking hate guard dogs. As quick as we could we managed to climb in and out get some pictures have a nose around and get the fuck out, half expecting the car to be on bricks.




46) The Windsor Street Gasworks – Aston, Birmingham – 3 Holders

The Windsor Street Gasworks were opened in 1848 by the Birmingham Gas, Light & Coke Co, Ltd. as a replacement for their Gas Street works which had become outdated by that time. Expansion of the site in the 1880s saw the construction of a retort house, purification plant, and several new gasholders. The gasholders that form part of this archaeological watching brief date to the earliest phase of work in the 1850s. The company was taken over by Birmingham Corporation in 1870 following an act of parliament, and was later appropriated by the West Midlands Gas Board until production ceased in 1974. The site is currently being used as a carpark for the National Grid complex and some of it is still being used for gas storage, pipe testing etc. and is currently being remediated under the planning system by its owner.


Aston Gas, what can I say!

Simply one of the very best.

Aston came to my attention many years ago when my dad was on a course at Aston University during the riots in 1985, as a ten year old it was worrying that I could see bad stuff happening on the news and upset that my dad was there. It was shocking at the time. What started as a simple parking ticket erupted into some of the worst rioting the UK has ever seen.

But I digress, after a day of poncing around in Brum with @Rapid_Ascent and @Clebby and feeling pretty chuffed with ourselves after finding the highly coveted and much spunked on facebook, Methodist hall.


We decided to have a crack at these, painted in the awesome Claret and blue of my beloved West Ham, well it was meant for Aston Villa, but West Ham are simply more deserving lol

We downloaded @gaj’s old map and headed over. Now Aston is very much a live site so you have to be very careful not to get busted. After studying the map we chose a slightly different route in, but ended up with the same results anyways. Once at the top of the twin gas holders the view over the city of Birmingham was amazing and we decided that we would walk around the top of this one and take some pictures that resembled what can only be described as a really really bad album cover. Now I described these as twin holders, Aston is fairly unique in that the holders have a bridge that runs between the top of them. Pretty cool huh?






47) Ipswich Gas Holder Station – Arkwright Road – 1 Holder

In 1818 Allen Ransome had a small coke plant at his foundry in St Margaret’s Ditches, with his brother James, and with John Talwin Shewell they provided £2,600 to supply Ipswich with gas. William Cubitt, who was working with Ransome at that time, ensured the gas from the coke plant was collected and distributed, initially with gas lamps in Carr Street, Tavern Street and on the Cornhill. Ipswich was one of the first towns in the country with streets lit by gas. Not the first: that accolade went to Preston in Lancashire, where gas street lamps had been installed in 1816. The first house in Ipswich to be lit with gas was Allen Ransome’s home in Carr Street, from the pipe supplying the street lights.

In 1820 the Ipswich Gas Company came into being, supplying gas not only to the street lights but also to private homes and businesses. Initially there were no meters, the contract to supply gas stated the maximum number of hours the gas could be used, and if you’re agreed cut-off time was exceeded, a surcharge was imposed.

The sale of gas to domestic premises was phenomenal and the gas company almost immediately set about building a much bigger gas works alongside what was to become the Wet Dock. Here they could import coal from the Tyne and had the space to install the gas holders necessary for continuity of supply.

The gasworks on this site predated Ransomes’ move to Orwell Works by 10 years.

Dykes Alexander was the first chairman of the company and the majority of the 200 shareholders were members of the Alexander, Ransome or Cobbold families. William Cubitt, who had been instrumental in getting the plant up and running, resigned in 1826 and Daniel Goddard took over as chief engineer and company secretary.

When Goddard died in 1842 he was succeeded by his son Ebenezer, and then in 1882 by his son Daniel Ford Goddard. Goddard was a great philanthropist and after only five years he left the gas company and devoted himself to public service. He founded the Social Settlement in Fore Street and spent a considerable amount of his time there, ensuring that not only did it offer accommodation but also social welfare to the local community. The Gasworks in Ipswich are long gone, with only one remaining gasholder located on the Hadleigh road industrial estate.



The Ipswich gas holder we found purely by accident while google earthing looking at something else. We had been led to believe that the holder in Ipswich had been demolished when all the time there was a sneaky pancake one hidden up at the back of the Hadleigh Road industrial estate.

Entrance to this one was fairly simple is a case of wiggling the gate a little, sliding underneath it, a cautious walk up to the holder and a climb up the spiral staircase For a change it was a simple one to climb no mucking around with a view of the nicer part of Ipswich. We didn't spend too much time on mucking around up here as it was bloody cold.
Luckily just as we got out of the site a random security patrol rocked up to check on the estate, we hid in the car for a bit and then made a speedy escape and headed home for a warm up.





48) Gravesend Gas Holder Site – Canal Road – 2 Holders

In 1824 The Gravesend & Milton Gas Light Company were formed and a Gas works was erected in Bath Street. The town was lit by gas in September of that year.

The Gasworks were moved to this site from a site in the west of the town to avoid river dues on coal and to be adjacent to the Canal basin of the Thames and Medway canal. Had a retort house, gas holders and a tramway.

The new site in Canal Way still contains two holders and is located at the back of the local Coach company.

Gravesend gas holder was it quite an interesting one it was the first one where the pancake holder was higher than the frame holder. It was odd to look down the frame holder and see the Thames in the background.

Entrance was interesting after driving around the industrial state for a little while we decided just to go for it and asked the man washing the coaches if we could nip past him and climb the fence to grab some pictures of the holders, he was totally fine with it. As a side note the coach company was called Brian Jones coaches, another Rolling stones connection lol

The frame holder only being small here gave us an interesting chance to grab some pictures looking down on a holder. Something we hadn’t really had a chance to do yet.

We spent some time sitting on the top of the pancake holder, shooting the breeze and adding to our ever growing collection of gas selfies lol





49) Lincoln Gas Holder Station – Clayton Road – 2 Holders

Gas was first used to light a house in Lincoln in 1792 and by 1826 Stamford, Boston, Louth and Gainsborough all had opened gasworks.

It wasn’t until 1828 Lincoln Gas, Light and Coke Co was founded at the junction of Carholme Road and Brayford Wharf North, by a group of Lincoln businessmen. The company had capital of £8,000 in shares and a mortgage of £1,800. Production of gas began in 1830.
The first year accounts show a turnover of £1,515 and a loss of £330.

76 street lamps were lit in Lincoln and the first private consumer was Cornelius Maples of the Bail. He had to give the following undertaking:

“Gas to be consumed in the shop from sunset until the hour of nine for six days in the week. I will not wilfully wastefully consume gas, and as far as I can I will not suffer the flame to exceed the height of 3 ½ inches, and I will not commence burning until sunset at any time and will extinguish such light within a quarter of an hour from the time here agreed upon, except on Saturday night when the burning shall, if I require it, continue an hour extra. The charge per half-year to be £2 per light, payable in advance”


The amount of gas produced was 15,000,000 cubic feet. The use of gas had grown considerably over the previous 40 years and there was little room to enlarge the site at the Carholme Road plus it was becoming more and more difficult to get a sufficient coal to carbonise, due to the size of barges on the Fossdyke. Bracebridge was growing from a village into a suburb of Lincoln and the recently opened Lincoln to Honington railway gave it easy access to coalfields therefore it was decided that a new gasworks would be built at Bracebridge. The Bracebridge gasworks opened in 1876.

The owners of the gasworks had tried for several years to sell it. In 1885 agreement was made with Lincoln Corporation to buy the gasworks.

Various types of gasholder were inspected and in 1930 a new holder of the three-lift spiral guided type was ordered to increase storage capacity. The capacity of the new holder was 1,500,000 cubic feet.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s UK unemployment soared to 3.5 million, Lincoln suffered like most industrial towns and cities; Lincoln Corporation asked for schemes to mitigate the problem locally. The manager of the gasworks put forward a scheme for complete reconstruction of the works, as well as providing increased employment at the works; it would also give work to local firms. The almost complete rebuilding of the works meant up-to-date processes could be incorporated into the design. One of the most important innovations was the use of continuously operated vertical retorts and it was decided after careful consideration to install the Woodhall-Duckham system.

Orders for the reconstruction were placed with the following companies: Woodhall Duckham Vertical Retort and Oven Construction Company (1920) of London, Newton & Chambers and Co Ltd of Sheffield. The following Lincoln companies were also involved in the reconstruction: Penney & Porter Ltd, M Otter & Co, Ruston & Hornsby, W Gregory & Son, Richard Duckering Ltd. Work started on the reconstruction in January 1932 and the new gas plant was put into operation in October 1932. The new gasworks were officially opened in June 1933 by Ernest Brown, government minister for mines.

The arrival of natural gas from the North Sea in the 1970s made the manufacture of coal gas obsolete and the Bracebridge gasworks closed down.

Lincoln Gas was a late night visit and a pretty sketchy one at that. I’d already had a look at these two earlier in the summer but it was daylight and way to bait due to its location between two campuses of the local secondary school.
It was also protected by three different palisade fences, sadly on making our way over the third one we could see a JCB halfway through holder number 3, still it made for some interesting pictures and we got to see up close how a gas holder is constructed.





50) Peterborough Gas Holder Station- Wellington Street – 1 Holder

There’s not really much history on the Peterborough site other than the Peterborough Gas Company was established in 1834

Peterborough or Pete-bog-horror as the staff of the late magazine Map Power use to call their home isn’t the prettiest of places, but it did have a gas holder. So on the way back from doing Lincoln holder we stopped off at this one. With a tall palisade fence, more palisade around the stairs and a load of razor wire they didn’t want anyone climbing this one. Well tough we did and here are the pics.




51) Oxted Gas Holder Station – Station Road – 1 Holder

The MAN type gas holder was built and commissioned in 1967.The gas holder is no longer operational, it was last used in 1999. The holder was still inspected monthly and does not currently present any health and safety issues.

Oxted gas holder was pretty cool one today it was one of the few remaining MAN gas holders in the UK what with Battersea and Southall long gone. We ended up at this one earlier in the list than expected due to Google Maps got lost due to the Dartford Bridge being shut. We ended up driving down Oxted High Street and looking at this gargantuan blue gas holder.

We quickly hid the car down a side street and approached the holder through the car park knowing it was very well lit and appeared to be undertaking the start of demolition. Bollocks a security guard was sat in a portacabin so we took another route and headed in the back way.

We snuck around the back of the holder towards the staircase, bugger, it had been the first bit to be demo'd. The staircase was gone, the only option now was to climb the steelwork. Thinking it wasn’t going to be too bad it was actually a proper git! The horizontal sections on the steelwork were just out of reach from each another, with a grab, stand up, climb, grab, sit, stand up it took a fair amount of time to get up this one.

About three quarters of the way up I noticed the ever present security guard wandering about with his torch. We carried on going eventually after what seems like forever we arrived on the top of the gas holder, time to have a drink and a snack and to get on with taking some pictures. On looking over the edge, which probably wasn't the best thing to do, it became apparent that we had three police cars waiting for us. Shit was this going to be the first gas holder we would be busted on?

We had two choices, we hand ourselves in or sit it out in the dark. Yup we sat it out and after about 45 minutes the cops got bored and left. We quickly took our pics and left. Sad in the fact that within a week this one too would be gone.





52) Cowley Gas Holder Station – Oxford Road – 1 Holder

Sadly no history on the Cowley Holder station, stuff seems to be harder to find on these newer sites.

Cowley holder station located in Oxford its right next door to the Cowley mini factory and next door to the Unipart headquarters which advertised Unipart security and Unipart site maintenance well after this I'll be fucked if I’d ever get them to watch over anything.
As we are drawing towards the end of 100 holders we really had got the hang of palisade. This was a simple climb over, run upstairs snap some pictures, get back down, back over the palisade and move onto the next one hoping to build a little more exciting than this one.




53) Newbury Gas Holder Station – Hambridge road – 1 Holder

A gas works in Newbury was established in the 1820’s by Joseph Hedley of London. The purpose of the works was to provide gas street lighting in Newbury and Speenhamland. This began on December 29, 1825. However, the first public building in Newbury that was lit by gas was the Waterside Chapel and this occurred in 1827. The Chapel was situated at what is now the Waterside Centre.

The site of the gas works was to be found at the Cheap Street end of King’s Road. By 1880 the demand for gas for use in the home and at work was such that a new and larger gas works was needed.

This was built at the corner of King’s Road and Boundary Road. Two years before, i.e. in 1878, the Borough of Newbury Corporation had purchased the Newbury Gas provision from the Gas Company for the sum of £10,438. The new works was constructed in 1880-81.

For around 40 years the Chairman of the Corporation’s gas works was Alderman Charles Lucas and thanks to the skilful and competent way he carried out his responsibilities, the gas works by 1925 was in a strong financial position.

Indeed it was in July 1925 that the Mayor Alderman James Stradling opened a new vertical retort plant which replaced one that was deemed unsatisfactory. The town grew in size and hence so did the demand for gas, particularly during the Second World War. Consequently, in 1947 a larger retort house was constructed next to the one already there. In addition a new gas holder was built on land between Hambridge Road and the racecourse.

The gas industry was nationalised on May Day 1949, thus bringing to an end 70 years of town ownership of an important utility. Alderman H R Metcalf who in 1949 was chairman of the gas committee, a post he held for nearly 21 years, was not pleased with this decision of the Attlee Government.

As a result the Southern Gas Board, which had been established, was responsible for further modernisations. However, in 1959 it was announced that because the town was to be joined up to a new grid system the King’s Road gas works would have to close. This happened in July 1959.

Newbury gas, this one was a pancake and located alongside a busy road in the middle of Newbury and surrounded by not only one palisade fence but three! One fairly high surrounds the compound then two smaller but still spikey bastard ones inside.

Out of all of the holders this was the only one where I thought I might go through the top, it was very bouncy and very wobbly as I walked across it.




54) Reading Gas Holder Station – Alexander Turner Close – 1 Holder

Sadly no history again for this one.

Reading gas was a goodun, Located between the River Kennet and the Thames, it lends itself to the oldie worldly side of Reading. Although sadly a modern shite housing estate has recently been built around the bottom of it. At a time when most people were sat having their lunch outside the pub myself and RA were chucking ourselves over yet another set of fences and up another gas holder.

The view from the top was pretty cool look out down the Thames and back into the old town of Reading. If you looked away from the town you could see the site further up the river where two more gas holders once lived, shame we don't get to see all three





55) Horley Gas Holder Station – Cloverfields – 1 Holder

There was a gasworks on London Road just north of Crawley from 1859, when it supplied street lighting to the town. Crawley later received its gas supply from the Horley gasworks across the border in Surrey. The Horley District Gas Company was founded in 1886 and acquired the Crawley Gas Company and its gasworks in 1901. The master plan stated that more capacity was needed to serve the projected population of the designated area. In the late 1940s, several groups got together to propose improvements to the gas supply to a large area of east Surrey and Crawley New Town: the Development Corporation, three gas companies, the Horley, East Surrey and Croydon District Gas Companies and the Ministry of Fuel and Power. They decided that Waddon gasworks in Croydon should be enlarged enough to meet the needs of all three gas companies' supply areas and those of Crawley. Gas mains were laid out in the designated area in 1949, and between then and 1953 a high-pressure gas main was built to link the network with Waddon gasworks. The gasworks at Horley and Redhill were also expanded to give greater storage capacity.

Horley was another late night one, what a fucker, this one was fucking fun the cheeky bastard owners had covered it in anti-climb paint, let’s just say it was a little slippery and a little messy. We ended up covered in sticky black shit just for an average pancake holder




56) Redhill Gas Holder Station – Hooley Lane – 2 Holders

I couldn’t find any history for this one at all, sorry kids.

What I can tell you though is Redhill gas holder station consists of one frame type holder and one large pancake holder. Located opposite a busy shop it wasn’t a hard one to get into, we waited for a gap in the foot traffic and just bundled over the wall avoiding the ancient barbed wire.
Things were going swimmingly, well they were until we got three quarters of the way up, when I noticed a police helicopter with its search light. Ooooo bugger. We figured if they were coming for us we might as well get to the top at least. In the end we spent a fair while up here watching the helicopter look for whatever it was looking for over the main town.




57) Tonbridge Gasworks – Vale Road – 2 Holders

Gas was the first of the public utilities to be established in Tonbridge. In the 1830s and within the next 70 years the others all followed. All were dependent on developments in technology as well as on local initiative - or in the case of sewerage. The lack of it.

The Gasworks and Water Works were started by private companies, whereas the Sewage Treatment Works and Electric Light works were the responsibility of the local authority.
Tonbridge Gas Company was established in 1836 for the purpose of lighting the streets. The first gasworks was between Medway Wharf Road and the river, at the west end of Old Cannon Wharf. Coal was delivered by barge and roasted in closed ovens to produce gas which was piped to lamps in the High Street, Bordyke and East Street. The first lighting of these, on the evening of 12th November 1836, was an occasion for public celebration. Lamplighters lit and extinguished the lamps. Initially only used during the winter months. Gas was only produced in the evenings, and for a few days around full moon the lamps were not lit at all.

By 1856 the Company was supplying gas for street lamps and private consumers, including Tonbridge School and the Parish Church. Street-lighting reached Priory Street, Lavender Hill and Primrose Hill in 1865, and the Pinnacles in Shipbourne Road only in 1897. Lamps were initially either of the 'Argand' or 'bats-wing' type, in which the light came directly from the flame itself Incandescent mantles, which gave much brighter light, were tried out in two lamps on the Big Bridge in 189S , and subsequently widely adopted. Gas street-lamps, now converted for electricity, survive on the Big Bridge and Little Bridge in the High Street, and probably elsewhere in the town. New gas street lamps were still being installed, in places not yet on the electricity mains, as late as 1923, and there were still 28 gas streetlamps lamps in use in various parts of the town in 1933.

In addition to lighting gas was also in use as an industrial power source by the 1890s, fuelling gas-powered engines that were more convenient than steam engines for smaller-scale applications. Baltic Saw Mills considered installing a 12 or 16 horse* power gas engine, and another was proposed for the new Quarry Hill brickworks. Tonbridge School installed a gas-engine in 1894 to drive its electric generator, and the Tonbridge Free Press later used one to replace human labour on its presses.

Dramatic growth in the use of gas for domestic cooking and heating did not come until the 20th century, by which time gas was available 24 hours a day. In 1927, for example, a record 324 cookers, 30 1 fires and 66 water-heaters were installed. For 100 years from 1836 demand for gas increased every year, requiring frequent enlargement of the gasworks and laying of bigger pipes. The first expansion, in 1864, was southwards, onto land between Walters Farm Road and the gasworks stream, and one building still survives on this site. Subsequent expansion was along the river bank towards Cannon Lane, and a portion of this site, including two gasholder that remain today

Tonbridge gas was an early Sunday morning jaunt, the roads were thick with fog as I drove over the Dartford Bridge I was hoping that by the time I got to Tonbridge it would be clear.

It had one frame gas holder and one pancake gas holder. Located on the edge of a very dodgy rundown industrial estate, a burnout Polish car sadly abandoned at the bottom of the gas holder made me wonder what I would find left of my car.

Access this site is easy no palisade, just a crappy chain link fence. Once over the chain link fence it was the simple case of walking up to the green gate which was already open and climbing the stairs to the top. There are some decent views over the river. Even after all these holders it still surprises me that not one person ever looks up, not one person pays any attention to somebody climbing an old bit of industry.
Looking down from the top of the frame at the pancake this is the worst condition pancake I had seen on my travels. The top of this one was rotted through no wonder the ladders are been removed.





58) Felixstowe Gas Holder Station – Walton Avenue – 1 Holder

I couldn’t find any history for this one either, I guess it’s long forgotten.

Felixstowe gas holder, where is Felixstowe people ask? At the end of Felix's foot for fuck's sake. A proper dad joke if I ever heard one. This was a nice easy one, again on the side of a busy industrial estate with lorries coming out of port so we have to be quick clambering over the chain link fence. Once up the stairs it happens it is quite a pretty one with just the right amount of rust. The view out to the docks was pretty special too.




And so on to number 100

We kept this one' til last, I hope you will understand why….

59) Lavenham Gasworks – Walter Street – 1 Holder

Located in Water Street, Lavenham Gasworks built in 1862 by an unknown fabricator consist of a single lift column guided gas holder with a cast iron bolted tank and 5 solid cast columns.
4 of the 5 columns are in excellent condition and the fifth column has wastage and mechanical damage. The top tier channel girders are replacement girders, which are bolted to the original cast iron corner sections. This cast iron Gas-Holder is listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

We kept this one 'til the end, some might say it’s a non-event as holders go but to me and RA, its petty damn cool in our book. @Rapid_Ascent can take the credit for this one, she found it while looking for something a little more local. Once we checked out some pictures and google earth we knew this one was perfect for number 100.

You see it's tiny, roughly the size of a posh kids garden trampoline, it's small in a kind of, stick in your pocket and take home, if only eh. We rocked up in the quiet little village of Lavenham, with one thing in mind.

Completing the 100.

As we climbed the massive 25 feet to the top it was all we could do to muffle our giggles. It was tiny. As you can imagine with this being number 100 we decide we take a beer or two with us. It was perfect, the stars are out and although it was cold it want too bad. Just as we cracked open the beers; two workers came out the factory next door for a fag break. As normal people they didn’t look up so we waited while these guys finished their break before we started to take pics.

Along with Aston, Yarmouth and Twelvetree's, Lavenham rates amongst my favourites. The small structure made it seem hardly worth it, but it must have served a purpose right?





So to sum it up….

Have I enjoyed it?

Fuck yeah!

Do I know how many miles I've covered?


Do I care?


Would I do it again?

Hell yeah!

So in a Jerry Springer type final thought all I can say is they are pulling these down rapidly now and they will not be building anymore so,

Climb 'em while we’ve got 'em kids
Last edited:


Veteran Member
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Apr 3, 2008
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5 internet points for the biggest report ever.

I'll be honest and admit that I'd not considered the need for (coal) gas as being one of the reasons London couldn't get enough coal from us up in the North East. I'd always assumed (should never do that!) that coal was needed more for heating houses and fueling small industry..

The demolition and removal of gas holders has been rapid. It surprised me how fast it was done.
The support/guide frames in a lot of the holders are almost identical in construction to the components that make the head frame at Astley Green Colliery - that too is now suffering badly with corrosion.

I'm pleased you managed so many. For some reason gas holders scare me. I dunno - just seem unsafe anyway.
A fascinating report.


Well-known member
Apr 9, 2009
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wow, an amazing detailed report supplemented with excellent photography. Well done and thankyou for sharing.

mockney reject

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Aug 3, 2014
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5 internet points for the biggest report ever.

I'll be honest and admit that I'd not considered the need for (coal) gas as being one of the reasons London couldn't get enough coal from us up in the North East. I'd always assumed (should never do that!) that coal was needed more for heating houses and fueling small industry..

The demolition and removal of gas holders has been rapid. It surprised me how fast it was done.
The support/guide frames in a lot of the holders are almost identical in construction to the components that make the head frame at Astley Green Colliery - that too is now suffering badly with corrosion.

I'm pleased you managed so many. For some reason gas holders scare me. I dunno - just seem unsafe anyway.
A fascinating report.

Don't let them scare you, go out and climb one :)

They are ace and so so so so beautiful


Well-known member
Sep 20, 2005
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Bristol, UK.
It's taken me 3 days to get through this, and the only thing I really learnt is how shit your diet is!

Seriously though, great work, and a great read. Thanks!!

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