Author Topic: Gas Works  (Read 949 times)

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2021, 12:41:10 PM »
I found this on the BBC website today which may be of general interest to those who follow this thread.


Will the UK's gas holders be missed? - BBC News


Offline Invicta Alec

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2021, 03:34:46 PM »
I kind of broke a tradition in our family by not following both my father and grandfather into working for the gas board. Three uncles and one great uncle were also employed. All but one worked on the distribution side in Medway. Dad got promoted to be foreman for the Sevenoaks area. Temporarily though my family were shipped to St.Pauls Cray while a house was built for us in Sevenoaks.


In the event we actually spent eighteen months in St.Pauls Cray. We lived in a very large house within the grounds of the holder station. The gas lit house was on its last legs and damp and we were to be its last residents. We largely lived on the upper floor. The house had three lawns, the largest of which had been fenced off at some point and manicured into a bowling green. There was also a tennis court and a club house forming the social club for this particular gas board region. My bedroom overlooked the bowling green and the left hand one of the three holders in the picture below. I'd say it was around seventy yards away.


We moved to a brand new but tiny house in Sevenoaks in 1963. Again the house was actually within the holder station. In the aerial photo below you can see a white car on the road on the right hand side. The house immediately to its left was ours. The holder was no more than thirty five yards away.


So I think I can claim that gasholders loomed large in my early years! Both holder stations no longer exist.


Following the discussion above about the holders being now replaced by a national grid system its odd to reflect back sixty years. In 1960 the Sevenoaks holder station was still an actual gasworks. Even though all its old ancillary buildings had been removed by the time we arrived, there were still stack after stack of new gas mains pipes stored there. The old rails from the nearby Bat & Ball station sidings were not lifted for some years. In the corner of the yard was a tiny office where just one gas board employee worked. I became friendly with one chap. We'd sit and chat about football in the evenings. Once every hour we'd walk over to the holders and he would take a reading or two off of some meter or other and then phone his findings through to head office in Croydon. As far as I could tell it was pretty much the largest part of his job. He did this all through the night and I'd see him cycle home the next morning.


Alec.

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #31 on: January 03, 2021, 07:07:15 PM »
Good to hear Stewie,


We once had a bomb scare at a site and I arrived to see Police cars inside the boundary of the site. The inspector asked what was needed and I said get those cars our first as if the holder goes up so would the cars and their occupants. He was very quick to get them out. Next the police dogs arrived and they expected to send the dogs up on their own. When I explained the construction of the water grips at each level and that in the darkness the dogs will fall through into the tank, that idea was give up as well.




Offline Stewie

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2021, 05:00:01 PM »
I have to say that I have learnt something reading this thread and the associated Wiki links!  :)

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2021, 01:38:21 PM »
For anyone complaining about the constant GtheP thread- not me- the "gas" subject has been very active for some time with lots of interesting articles. So enjoy. And thanks to all those who contributed.

Offline MartinR

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2021, 09:08:30 PM »
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gas_holder in particular the illustration https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dip_and_cup.svg shows how the seal was created and maintained as the parts rose and fell.

Offline Lyn L

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2021, 08:54:04 PM »
Not having a clue about how gas holders work ! just being so used to seeing them in different places. As a young child living in Ramsgate we lived fairly near the Gas works and it always stank of gas. I always thought it was a usual smell of the town   8) .
My eldest son used to work at Grain for Transco later National grid and he has photos of himself inside a gas holder, he said he'd try and find any and let me know. 

Offline stuartwaters

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2021, 07:13:48 PM »
Coal Gas has a very distinctive smell and I remember that as a young child while going to the Strand some years after the conversion to Natural Gas, the place still stank of Coal Gas.
"I did not say the French would not come, I said they will not come by sea" - Admiral Sir John Jervis, 1st Earl St Vincent.

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2021, 06:44:50 PM »
Here is newish picture of the spiral guided holder at Gillingham just after painting.


 

Offline Stewie

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2021, 05:25:59 PM »
Stewie,
They did /do not work that way, in fact the opposite. The higher the holder the higher the pressure is created (known as thrown). But the difference in pressure when a holder is full to when nearly empty is not a great deal. Typically pressures were measured in inches water gauge and a full holder on a 3 /4 lift holder would be 12"wg, but as it emptied down to 4" wg. District pressures in those days were much lower as cookers/ fire etc could cope with the lower pressures. Modern boiler just wont work with those type of pressure.
The whole gas supply system was stood on it's head with the advent of Natural gas arriving already being at higher pressures and the job was then to reduce the pressure to a manageable one for the district gas mains. Previously compressors were used to allow the use of medium pressure pipes around town and between the towns. For instance Medway still has a medium pressure 18"ring main now largely replaced by PE pipes originally operating at 20 psi (the maximum allowed for cast iron mechanical jointed pipe). Chatham Dockyard had its own 9" steel pipework fed from both Gillingham and Rochester but only at 5 psi.


Thinking about it, if the collapsing telescopic cylinder created pressure in the outlet pipe then it would also need some sort of compressor arrangement to pump it back up again.

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2021, 03:51:38 PM »
Thanks for the detail Johnfilmer, not my area being a gas distribution pipe man.

Offline johnfilmer

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2021, 03:20:07 PM »
The older gas appliances had multiple individual gas jets, often with their own aeration. All of those either had to be replaced when being converted, or the whole gas train may have been upgraded to a more adaptable box style burner. These had only a single injector per burner, easily swopped over on conversion.


Most conversions for common appliances were in kit form, easily fitted by the retrained, non gas industry workforce. My old business partner was a charge hand on conversion, and having a gas background was usually tasked with converting the uncommon, known as ad hoc conversions, as he made up the conversion from the piles of bits in the van.


Some cookers water heaters and fires could not be converted, those lucky souls got a replacement refurbished, or even new appliance.


I was running a heating service department from 1972 and we just caught the end of conversion, by which time they generally knew what they were doing. Boilers were frequently supplied in the wrong gas by builders merchants. I’m sure they did it just to cause mayhem.
Illegitimus nil carborundum

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2021, 03:12:39 PM »
MartinR,
Yes on conversion the burning power (Calorific Value) of Natural gas was different to Town gas and quite a number of other characteristics were also different, so new burners were needed. Now days the industry knows more and can convert the gas itself. Just a few burners were able to cope with the two types of gas.

Offline MartinR

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2021, 02:47:19 PM »
@LutonmanWhen we were converted to natural gas the burners on the cooker had to be replaced (free) and I think some of the gas fires needed "rejetting".  More modern equipment was dual fuel (natural/town), I don't know how that worked.  We didn't have a boiler in those days.

Offline Lutonman

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Re: Gas Works
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2021, 01:59:22 PM »
Stewie,
They did /do not work that way, in fact the opposite. The higher the holder the higher the pressure is created (known as thrown). But the difference in pressure when a holder is full to when nearly empty is not a great deal. Typically pressures were measured in inches water gauge and a full holder on a 3 /4 lift holder would be 12"wg, but as it emptied down to 4" wg. District pressures in those days were much lower as cookers/ fire etc could cope with the lower pressures. Modern boiler just wont work with those type of pressure.
The whole gas supply system was stood on it's head with the advent of Natural gas arriving already being at higher pressures and the job was then to reduce the pressure to a manageable one for the district gas mains. Previously compressors were used to allow the use of medium pressure pipes around town and between the towns. For instance Medway still has a medium pressure 18"ring main now largely replaced by PE pipes originally operating at 20 psi (the maximum allowed for cast iron mechanical jointed pipe). Chatham Dockyard had its own 9" steel pipework fed from both Gillingham and Rochester but only at 5 psi.