These rusting, skeletal structures are monolithic monuments to Glasgow's industrial past
Looming over suburban housing and the scenic Forth and Clyde Canal, these two derelict gasometers were built to store vast amounts of coal-produced gas. Each gasometer houses a telescopic container which, when in use, expanded and contracted as needed to store pressurized gas. The first of these gasometers was constructed in 1893, with the second following in 1900 as demand increased.
The overall gasworks was originally built in 1871 for the local Partick, Hillhead, and Maryhill Gas Company. It was one of several gasworks built throughout Victorian Glasgow that helped provide lighting and heating for the Empire’s “second city.” It was subsequently bought over by the Glasgow Corporation in 1891 and linked to the nearby Dawsholm Gasworks via a private railway tunnel running under the Forth and Clyde Canal.
Gas was produced at the gasworks by heating coal to produce a mixture of hydrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide. The by-products of this process—coke, coal tar, and ammonia—were sent on to an adjoining chemical processing plant for further use. Coal was supplied to the gasworks by rail.
The gasworks closed in 1968, as extracting and piping in natural gas replaced the need for local manufacturing and storage. The gasometers were still used for storage for a number of years, but eventually they were no longer needed and eventually decommissioned. Left to the mercy of the elements, they became silent specters of the past.
However, in 2018, Historic Environment Scotland classified the gasometers as Category B listed structures. In their view they were “important reminders of an industrial process that is now largely redundant” and should be protected and preserved. What this means for their future is unclear, but it would appear their story is far from over.
Know Before You Go
You can view the gasometers from the Forth and Clyde canal footpath, near Kelvindale railway station. There is a small wooded path, off the canal footpath, which leads to the gaswork gates and fences that offer good views. There is no access to the gaswork grounds or gasometers, however.
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