Historic Development of the Gas Work Site
The following page gives a guide to the function of the key buildings on the site, and provides a gallery of historic and current images.
Coal Stores. Coal arrived by rail, with approximately 6 weeks' supply held in dry storage.
Retort Houses contained the ovens in which the coal was "cooked" to release gas.
Condensers undertook the preliminary process by which coal tar was removed
Exhauster was a steam driven pump which pressurised the system
Purifying / Lime Houses took the gas through further mechanical and chemical cleaning processes to remove impurities
Gas Holder were cylinders made of wrought iron (later steel), supported above a tank of water by the pressure of the gas within and used to hold gas under pressure until required.
Other buildings included Offices, Smithy, Meter House and Stores.
The gallery to the left shows comparative historic and current images. The site evolved constantly during its period of gas production, with buildings emerging and frequently being adapted to new uses. For example the once substantial building on the western boundary began life housing a series of gas holders, but latterly was used as a retort house, coal store and purifying house.
The conversion to use as a timber yard in the early 20th Century saw substantial changes, not least the removal of all of the industrial equipment and demolition and replacement of certain buildings. The former purifying building in the NW corner of the site was substantially altered to form a stable in 1919.
Further substantial demolitions took place around 1980, with the removal of a number of buildings from the centre of the site, and the radical reduction in height of the western gas holder building.
Since 1980 a number of buildings have deteriorated substantially, most notably the Purifying building (derelict and too dangerous to enter) and the later office building (abandoned and deteriorating rapidly).
Against this story of change and decay, the eastern elevation remains remarkably unchanged since the earliest development of the site.