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cell

Glasgow's Gasworks

After seeing the picture of the Provan gasworks over on the Death Watch thread, I thought I would have a look at the history of gas manufacture in the various Glasgow’s gas works and see what is left of this industry. Before we had cheap plentiful gas from the North Sea, you had to make it, which meant several big chemical works situated within the city boundaries. I’ve illustrated the map below to show the main locations in the city and included some links to the Canmore site which has some great old pictures of the various works.


In 1817 an act of parliament was obtained by the Glasgow Gas Light Company giving statutory powers for producing "inflammable air" and other products from coal. Townhead was selected for Glasgow’s first significant gas works with the site being just west of the Cathedral. Any trace of it has long gone with the site cleared at the end of the 19th century and the area having been redeveloped twice in the intervening years
Tradeston Gas Works was erected by the Glasgow Gas Light Company in 1835 and expanded several times, it was taken over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1869 and eventually closed in 1970. The site still retains some function as part of the grid and the bases of two of the gas holders can be seen on GE.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...birnie+street+tradeston+gasworks/

Partick Gas Works was erected by the Glasgow Gas Light Company in 1843 at the bottom of Byres Rd, closed in 1879, nothing now remains of the site.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...7+keith+street+partick+gas+works/

In 1843 an act of Parliament was obtained by the City and Suburban Gas Company of Glasgow, giving statutory powers to supply gas to the City, Gorbals, Anderston, Calton, Rutherglen and places adjacent. A site was selected in Dalmarnock and work started on erecting the plant, it was taken over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1869 and eventually closed in 1956. Some of the buildings still remain and the outlines of two of the gas holders can be seen on GE.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...marnock+road+dalmarnock+gasworks/

Temple Gas Works was built in 1871 by The Partick, Hillhead and Maryhill Gas Company, it was taken over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1891 and joined to the nearby Dawsholm site by a tunnel under the canal to form a single works. The site closed in 1968 however the two large Temple gasholders are still in situ having been used until quite recently.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s.../details/glasgow+temple+gasworks/

Dawsholm Gas Works was built in 1871 by Glasgow Corporation and was extended several times, along with being joined to the Temple works, a large chemical plant utilising by products was also situated on the site. The site was eventually closed in 1968 and is now a site of a modern housing development.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...skaethorn+road+dawsholm+gasworks/

Provan Gas Works was built in 1904 by Glasgow Corporation and was extended several times, becoming one of the largest in Britain, a large chemical plant utilising by products was also situated on the site. The site was eventually closed in 1980s however it still retains some function as part of the grid and three large holders are still in use, the rest of the site has been largely cleared but has not been developed and can be seen on GE.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...sgow+provan+road+provan+gasworks/

Helen Street Gas Holder Station, in 1949 a spiral guided gas holder and a boosting station was erected, this was remotely controlled from Tradeston Works. I believe it is still in use for storage.
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/s...ls/glasgow+helen+street+gasworks/

Towns or coal gas (as opposed to Natural gas or North Sea gas) was  basically made by roasting coal and collecting the mixture of hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide, this process was carried out in retorts and along with the gas produced by-products of coke and coal tars and ammonia. The tars and ammonia were an important feedstock for the dye and chemical industry which often had associated plants on the gas works sites.

A second process which could utilise the coke produced in the retorts, was known as blue or carburetted water gas process. Here charges of coke were alternatively heated with air then cooled by a steam stream during which hydrogen and carbon monoxide was produced and collected.
Glasgow’s gas plants also used coke oven gas from various iron works and methane from colliers, this was then blended with what had been produced by the various processes in the works to produce a consistent product which could be stored in the various gas holders and distributed across the city.  

Surprisingly, although most of the physical plant associated with gas manufacture has disappeared, much remains of the sites and the gas holders, some of which are still utilised as part of the modern distribution process.

I’m going to try and visit some of these sites over the coming weeks and hopefully get some photos of any remains, if any of you have any photos or info on the sites it would be great to see them.
Mahdi West

Smashing idea for a thread, Cell. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your investigations.  
cell

This was posted elsewhere by Toomse a while back



This tunnel was built in 1892 to link the Temple and Dawsholm works, originally the tunnel had a full gauge railway and two 36” gas mains. It can still be seen if you’re willing to do a bit of scrambling, but both ends are fenced off so you can’t get through it.

Dawsholm end

Temple end

A couple of general pictures of the Temple gas holders


cell

Google Earth view of the Temple and Dawsholm sites
cell

Ah Dalmarnock on a wet afternoon, where else would you rather be? Dalmarnock was spread over two sites as you can see from the GE image.

The buildings in the North site have all been cleared and only these below on the South site remain.


Even these seem to be in danger of disappearing soon as there is redevelopment work ongoing which has removed the foot prints of the gas holders.
cybers

cell wrote:


Even these seem to be in danger of disappearing soon as there is redevelopment work ongoing which has removed the foot prints of the gas holders.


That door is unsecured BTW
cell

But there is another door behind it which is well locked! If you go round the front and to the left of the white building you can get in there, but there is quite a lot of activity going on associated with the building works and they seem to be using it to store machinery.


Dalmarnock works was built by the City and Suburban Gas Company of Glasgow in 1843 and was remodelled and extended many times. It was taken over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1869 along with the Townhead and Tradeston works of the Glasgow Gas Light Company. In 1904 it was closed when the new Provan Works was put into operation, however it was reopened in 1911 to meet increasing demand before finally being closed in 1956. At its peak it produced 7.5 million cubic ft/day and had storage capacity of 4.26 million cubic ft.
cell

Here are the locations of the Townhead and Partick Gas Works, nothing of which now remains. Both had very restricted locations as far as expansion was concerned and the Corporation closed them soon after they were taken over in 1869 in favour of developing other sites, Townhead was closed in 1874 and Partick in 1879. When it was first built in 1817, Townhead had one bench of 25 cast iron retorts with a capacity of 35000 cubic ft/day and one gas holder of 25000 cubic ft, which at that time was the largest in the UK. A second retort bench of the same size was installed in 1819 and additional gas holders erected, doubling the production to 70000 cubic ft/day with 100000 cubic ft storage. It is probable it would have been expanded and remodelled several more times before its closure.
Old map showing Townhead Works
http://maps.nls.uk/townplans/view...at=5543&lon=5977&layers=B
Current  location on Google Maps

Old map showing Partick Works
http://maps.nls.uk/townplans/view...5101&lon=13432.5&layers=B
Current  location on Google Maps
Fjord

Cell you might be interested in these from the archive.

Provanmill Gasworks c.1940 prior to them gas holders being painted in camouflage colours just before WW2 kicking off properly.

 

Dalmarnock Gasworks



Dalmarnock Gasworks showing a much larger gas storage tank across the road from the main works.    



Tradeston Gasworks



*note the steam engine hauling 40+ mineral wagons towards West Street Tunnel on the Up line towards Polmadie
cell

Thanks Fjord, those are excellent, love the amount of detail especially the trains. At the risk of sounding greedy, do you have any for the Temple and Dawsholm works?
Fjord

cell wrote:
At the risk of sounding greedy, do you have any for the Temple and Dawsholm works?


Not at all we're only too happy to oblige  I've had a good scour of the database and dug these out.

Found a nice panoramic view of Temple Gasworks c.1966 with some of the original buildings still in place with some of the pipework looking new.

Would the larger building previously housed the retort ovens seeing as natural gas (North Sea) was a few years away or have I got it completely wrong?

Temple Gasworks Panorama <scroll to view full image>



A closer look at the buildings.





Here are a few rare pics of the Ibrox Gasometer under construction c.1940's

Situated between the former Ibrox railway stations (there were two) the site is currently an engineering contractors
work site for the construction of an additional rail corridor between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations as part of the failed GARL airport rail link.

Ibrox Station triangle




Tradeston Gasworks c.1966

Fjord

Could only find this small area of the Dawsholm Gasworks showing the Forth and Clyde Canal at the bottom of Cleveden Road.

cell

Those are fantastic pictures Fjord, not sure how much you know of the history of the Dawsholm & Temple sites, Temple was built in 1871 by The Partick, Hillhead and Maryhill Gas Company, it was taken over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1891 and joined to the nearby Dawsholm site by a tunnel under the canal to form a single works. Dawsholm was built in 1871 by Glasgow Corporation and was extended several times, along with being joined to the Temple works, a large chemical plant utilising by products was also situated on the site.

I believe gas production at the Temple site was stopped soon after the sites were connected and extensively remodelled in 1892, certainly all the retort houses that I’ve seen discussed and which were revamped on a number of occasions, were situated on the Dawsholm site so I don’t believe the black building was the retort house. I have attached a scan of a photocopy (apologies for the quality) of an old plan dated 1892-7 which shows a building in this location as the “Purifier Shed”. This would make sense as you can see a large diameter pipe entering and leaving it in your picture, I presume it brings newly made raw gas from the Dawsholm site, on the right, to be cleaned before going off to the two large holders on the left.  The plan shows the original Temple retort house which was located just in front of the coal store which you see in your picture. The other building in your picture is identified as “Stables”.
jobby

Some fantastic images there, i was wondering if anyone had any more information/images on the dalmarnock site, more specifically the associated chemical works.

Currently in uni we're looking at the contamination of the Dalmarnock area in regards to the groundwater transport of contaminants and the possible rennovation of the area by Clyde gateway for the commonwealth village.

We do know the contaminants present however it would be very useful to know how many, if any, had orginated from the old chemical works to the West as this would indicate a possible groundwater flow of West to East and not North to South as was originally thought.

I have found some information from a book titled "the Gas Supply of Glasgow" however i am unsure how much of this refers only to Dalmarnock as much of it refers to "the Department"
cell

At a guess the ground associated with the chemical works would be riddled with contaminants, you are talking about a works which was originally built in 1843 and operated for over a 100 years, there would have been no ground contaiment for any spills, just bare earth, and any draining of tanks and vessels would have been straight to deck. I'm no expert on the particular chemicals involved but you would be looking at heavy ends and contaminates from coke oven gas so naphthalene, phenol, benzene, toluene and xylene with cyanides and ammonia chucked in for good measure.
jobby

yeah that sounds about right, the big ones that are likely to still be present in obscenely high concentrations (from the chemical works) are tars and ammonium liquors which were by-products from the gasworks and were processed in the chemical works to make ammonia sulphate for fertilizers, pure ammonium solutions (for dyes i think) and bicarbonate of ammonia. The issue is that these liquors and tars were stored in 5 underground wells in the chemical works and there is no information as to whether these wells are still present.
On the gasworks site itself the large gasholders that are shown in the images were simply buried and then lined with clay underneath where they once stood as such theres almost everything imaginable here (total polyaromatic hydrocarbons in excess of 4000mg/kg at one borehole).
So aye if anyone has a picture of the chemical works it would be massively useful in terms of determining the past location of these underground wells.
norrie

Interesting thread, has anyone any photos from street level?
cell

Fjord wrote:
Cell you might be interested in these from the archive.


Dalmarnock Gasworks showing a much larger gas storage tank across the road from the main works.    





I believe the chemical works is shown in Fjord's second Dalmarnock picture, it is directly south of the large gas holder and to the left of the retort houses which have the two chimneys. If you had a lower scale photo you would be able to locate it easily, but it looks like it is under the modern houses of Inverleith st and Finnart Sq
cell

Fjord wrote:


Here are a few rare pics of the Ibrox Gasometer under construction c.1940's

Situated between the former Ibrox railway stations (there were two) the site is currently an engineering contractors
work site for the construction of an additional rail corridor between Glasgow Central and Paisley Gilmour Street stations as part of the failed GARL airport rail link.

Ibrox Station triangle






You can see from Fjord’s pictures of the Helen St holder being built that it was a different construction to the earlier holders. This was a free standing structure built directly on the ground, where as the earlier types were built in pits and had a surrounding framework to support them as they rose. The picture shows the laying of the floor plates probably onto a bitumen sand base.

I believe the gas holder at Helen Street was erected in 1949 to help supply the new Hillington Industrial estate, it had a booster station to maintain pressure and was remotely controlled from the Tradeston works.  Capacity was 5 million cubic ft but no gas was actually produced at this site. My picture shows the ridged free standing section with the holder in the down position with the booster station visible to the right.

cell

jobby wrote:
yeah that sounds about right, the big ones that are likely to still be present in obscenely high concentrations (from the chemical works) are tars and ammonium liquors which were by-products from the gasworks and were processed in the chemical works to make ammonia sulphate for fertilizers, pure ammonium solutions (for dyes i think) and bicarbonate of ammonia. The issue is that these liquors and tars were stored in 5 underground wells in the chemical works and there is no information as to whether these wells are still present.
On the gasworks site itself the large gasholders that are shown in the images were simply buried and then lined with clay underneath where they once stood as such theres almost everything imaginable here (total polyaromatic hydrocarbons in excess of 4000mg/kg at one borehole).
So aye if anyone has a picture of the chemical works it would be massively useful in terms of determining the past location of these underground wells.


There is a 1945 plan of the Chemical works on the RC@HMS website titled "Item DP 086666 Collection Name Scottish Gas Site plan of chemical by products area with drains indicated and sections of channel and culvert." which might be of use to you, of course they have scanned it at too low a resolution so you will have to visit Edinburgh if it is to be of any real use.
 

http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/images/l/DP086666/
cell

I was directed by “Toaster” to this little nugget of information on The Glasgow Story website concerning the Tradeston works, I had no idea that Glasgow had been a target for early Irish republicans.

“The gas works was the scene of one of Glasgow's rare bomb outrages. On the night of 20 January, 1883, two loud explosions were heard at the works and sheets of flame were seen issuing from a large gasometer, which then collapsed. The force of the explosion was felt several miles away, and adjacent properties were damaged when the flames spread to them. After a painstaking police investigation, a number of arrests were made and nine men were eventually jailed. They were found to be members of the Ribbon Society, an offshoot of the Fenian Brotherhood in Dublin that was a forerunner of the Irish Republican Army”
http://www.theglasgowstory.com/im...m=TGSA05247&remove=99&t=2
cell

Dave has put together some really good past present pictures of the Tradeston Gas Works, if you’ve not seen them check them out.
http://urbanglasgow.co.uk/ftopic1734-120.php
Past present for the Provan works, difficult one this as there is a palisade fence around the site and you just have to brass neck it, stick the camera through the fence and hope no one spots you taking pictures of national infrastructure! Past by J Hume

norrie

Hi Cell, great photo by J Hulme, check out Scotlands Places for all of his work
Capercaillie

Been busy posting photos of my interest in disused stations and railways, this also includes the line to Dawsholm gasworks and...

gulp!


Granton gasworks' station here in Edinburgh...

sorry!
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