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Those big round things behind me are gasometers
Or at least they were, now they're deactivated, disused, and awaiting demolition.
But there used to be one or more of these in every town and every city up and down Britain.
This was when gas was not a thing piped in from the North Sea and beyond
but instead something that was made in a gasworks by burning coal
and that gas would be stored inside these
Now that blue one is a bit special, it had a piston that would go up and down inside
depending on how much gas needed to be stored. But those scaffolding ones there
they are currently empty and so the tank is down in the ground
But it would telescope up - be pushed up by the pressure of the gas inside it in order to store however much needed to be in there.
And they would rise and fall throughout the day, the gas works would spend day and night generating gas
steadily the gasometer would rise
And then, in the evening as people turned on most of their cookers, but perhaps their heating as well
that gas would be pushed out of it, and it would steadily fall down to the ground.
But now, well, they're not needed any more because that's a really inefficient way to store gas
with modern technology, all the gas that would be in there can be stored in a 50 meter stretch of high pressure pipeline underground.
So, there aren't that many left, they've been steadily demolished ever since the turn of the 20th century, perhaps a little earlier.
And now there are very few left. What aren't up for demolition
are either listed or protected buildings or aren't long for this world.
So they are a bit of Britain's industrial heritage that we will soon be saying goodbye to forever,
But in the meantime, if there's still one near you, well, that's what it used to be used for.
Say goodbye because it probably won't be around for long. That's a gasometer, and that is something you might not have known.
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