Hyde Hall
Farm and Water Mill

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Hyde Gas Holder.

We recently received this photo and account from Lee Brown - GasHolder Whilst I'm on and regarding the blog about the Hyde gas holder. It was demolished in 1985 and I was in charge of emptying it of gas and then purging it with nitrogen. When it was operational the gas in the holder was sealed underneath a floating piston by tar and it was filled automatically overnight monitored by the control centre at Gaythorn, Manchester. The tar seals inside had to be dipped every day to ensure the tar pressure was always greater than the gas pressure and as part of my apprenticeship I spent a month with the holder maintenance team, whose job this was. To get onto the piston you had to walk all the way to the top of the holder by the outside staircase then cross to the centre where there was a door accessing the inside. A collapsible ladder hung from the gantry and you climbed down this onto the piston. When the holder was full it was a mere nine or ten feet drop but one morning I was greeted by an empty holder, there had been a fault overnight and it hadn't filled. As it happened that morning, the chap that normally went up with me had phoned in sick, I was on my own. Oh well, I thought, here goes and I began the precarious descent to the piston almost 100 feet below. I made it down without any mishaps and dipped the tar at north, south, east and west, noted the results in the log and then started the climb back. I must have got over confident because at about twenty feet up I slipped and if it wasn't for the fact that I was wearing big toe-tector boots, which jammed in the rung of the ladder, I would have been lying spreadeagled on the piston. As it was, I was hanging upside down and it took all my strength to get upright again. I then had to go all the way down again because when I was upside down all the gear needed to do the dips had fallen out of my pockets. I finally emerged into the fresh air some half hour later and made my way down. When I phoned the results in to control and related my adventure, the controller said. You needn't 'ave bothered lad, missing one day wouldn't have mattered. Thanks very much ! I enclose a photo of the holder with scaffolding in place just prior to demolition.

Many thanks for sharing , Lee !! Great story :)


Dave Williams said...

Great photo and story. Another of the things I wish I'd got round to making a photographic record of. I never did, of course, because it was going to be there for ever.

Bill crompton said...

That great structure brings back memories,I often looked up at it from my grandads farm down mill lane.thanks for the reminder of what it looked like. Bill in Spain

theMEGLET said...

Thanks, Lee.

Graham Boote said...

G'day Lee, remember you from Hattersley Gas when you used to call in to get your van serviced by Alby or myself in the garage. Seems a long time ago. Excellent post, most enjoyable. Brought back a lot of memories of the Gas Board.

Beryl Williams said...

I lived in Read Street West and they used to call it the Three Smells of Hyde area seeing that the Gas works, Sewage works and Smith Brothers animal by product works were very near each other, all with their individual smells.

Werneth Low said...

I remember it - Smith Bros, the Bone Works, and the Kingston Stink! I also recall from long ago a child getting drowned in the cooling tower of what I think was Smiths.