Tuesday, 24 June 2014
A Magnificent Victorian Gasometer!
Great Yarmouth is great! If you approach the town with curiosity and an open mind there are so many facets to discover. So it was that Mr. Basil-Snapper (the third) and Munro Tweeder-Harris Esq. marvelled at the wonderful shapes and textures of the Victorian Southtown Gas Works.
According to one of the town's nineteenth century historians, William Finch-Crisp, a gas works was erected on this site in 1852. Subsequently, in March 1876, a new gasometer (no. 3), capable of holding 63,000 cubic feet of gas, was added (source: 'Chronological Retrospect of the History of Yarmouth and Neighbourhood from A.D. 46 to 1884'). This, presumably, is the marvellous structure you can see pictured here.
As we stood, mouths agape, looking up at this incredible structure, we discussed the quality of the detailing and the way it would have been an expression of cutting-edge modernity and civic pride. Standing there in 1877, brand new and gleaming, it must have cut an incredible and impressive sight. Now, all these years later, it is still magnificent and compelling with its ribs exposed and crackle-glaze paint and rusty rivets. Mr. Tweeder-Harris Esq. expressed his empathic connection with this grand old structure...
"I have always loved rivets. My paternal grand-dad was a riveter on the South Shields shipyards. As an old man his face was covered with a thousand tiny scars from hammering the still-soft metal. My maternal great grand-dad helped to build the Beckton Gas Works in East London. Apparently, the way he spoke about it you'd have thought he did it single-handedly."
What is the future for the Southtown Gas Works? Will it be preserved and valued, or will it be allowed to rot away and crumble into commercial land value? We strongly urge that it be valued as an amazing example of industrial archaeology. We really want to get closer up to it and will be making enquiries in order to do that in the future. In the meantime we gladly share these images with you here.
~ Article and images, compliments of Mssrs. Basil-Snapper (the third) & Tweeder-Harris Esq. ~
Please note: if you wish to visit the gasometer, it lies on the corner of Admiralty Road and Barrack Road and can be found marked HERE on the Ragged Ramblers' Google Map.