Some still find beauty in our disappearing industries

A VANISHING SIGHT ... the gasometer in Garden Lane, South Shields.
A VANISHING SIGHT ... the gasometer in Garden Lane, South Shields.

NOOOOOO ... not the gasometer!

Where would the centre of Shields be without its iconic gas holder?

Yet within a few years, it could be gone, says Northern Gas Networks. Across the country, gasometers are becoming obsolete, they say.

One day we will wake up and they will all have vanished from the landscape.

I love the gasometer. I love it that it’s a bit of in-your-face industrialisation that – excuse the expression – sticks a finger up at 21st century blandness.

It’s also a reminder of what was once an important industrial feature of the town centre – the old gas works, whose site Asda’s car park now partly covers.

To be fair, the construction of the works, and especially their substantial expansion at the end of the 19th century, which I think included the erection of the gasometer, meant in itself that a lot of old features of the locality to be cleared to make way for them.

These included a number of old tenements, and an old pub, the Waterloo Tavern (no prizes for guessing that) from which Waterloo Vale is said to have got its name.

Why, though, does the gasometer have to be demolished? It may no longer have a purpose but it’s almost sculptural in its appeal.