With the arrival of July the huge red machines with savage jaws have been ripping out the Victorian gas holders in High Brooms for about three weeks and they seem to be making good progress. My earlier blog entry on this subject showed that the demolition company had just broken through the outer skin on one of the main holders but now large sections have been removed and the machines are additionally attacking it from the inside.
The holders have been on this site since around 1880 and were still in use until the late 1960’s and many people in the area had ties to those who worked here and were involved in the production of coal gas, and even those that weren’t can still remember the smell!
Susan Roberts grew up in the area and added the following memories: My dad worked at the gasworks in the mid 1950’s and I can remember watching him working near the top of the holder when we lived in Holmewood Road. We could barely watch our TV then because of the “ghosting” caused by the holders. So sad to see them go. Did you know when we were kids and you had whooping cough you would be pushed around the perimeter and apparently the sulphur that would be in the air helped stop the coughing. My dad suffered from psoriasis and was told by the doctor that checked him when applying for the job there that it would disappear – it did.
Others, who shall remain nameless, have other memories of entering the site and climbing the tall metal towers or firing mud at them from the end of a stick to see who could leave the highest mark.
Access to the site is obviously restricted for safety reasons but you can still see the work progressing from a distance. Today the inner workings and Victorian construction have now been fully exposed showing how metal plates were hot riveted over the seams to prevent the gas from leaking.
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