The two East Greenwich Gasholders

The following is taken from a report produced in the 1990s on the history of gas holders in London

East Greenwich No 1 Gasholder
The building at East Greenwich was affected by the geology, so that shallower tanks resulted than those at first intended and greater numbers of lifts to make up the volume. Alluvium and gravel lie over London Clay, below which there are the water-bearing strata of the Woolwich and Reading Beds. It was planed originally, to have two tanks 250 feet across and 60 feet deep and a contract was let to Docwra’s. During excavation,however, in September 1884, the clay was found only to be a thin seam, and the depth of tank was reduced to 45 feet and 13 feet of this was raised on an embankment, to keep clear of the aquifer. The second tank was cancelled.
No 1 Gasholder had four lifts, rather than three and was the first such ever built. It is 180 feet tall and holds 8.2 million cubic feet. It is a larger than the Old Kent Road No 13 which it copies. It has six tiers of framing and two superimposed systems of diagonal bracing are provided in each panel, with a stiff top girder. It was built by Ashmore, Benson, Pease & Co for £17-15s per ton agreed in August-September 1884.
The deadline for completion was September 1886 but it is described as “not yet finished” in February 1888.
The holder continues in use but around 1980, parts of the bell and guide frame were fire damaged in an IRA bomb attack, but reinstated

East Greenwich No 2 Gasholder
It was at first that this should be built in 1884 as a twin of No 1 but the tank was not built until 1890, and then to a different configuration. 303 feet in diameter. it was only 30 feet deep and largely raised above ground level on an embankment, so that it was above the water table. This shows Liveseys’ confidence in the robustness and precision of its construction and that its radial and tangential guide rollers, would prevent the shallow lifts from tilting. The holder was an immense 12 million cubic feet and had 6 lifts of 30 feet with the top two lifts as flying lifts, so that the guide frame was only two thirds of the full height. This was the ultimate in frame-guided holder design. The bracing pattern of the guide frame was different from No 13 Old Kent Road and the diagonals were designed to be struts and so the longitudinal struts were eliminated, except for the T- sectioned top girder.
The tank was built by direct labour, and providing employment for stokers during the summer months. The ironwork contract was agreed in Apri11891 to Clayton Son & Co of Leeds, for £41,195, from a field of 11 tenderers. The holder was completed at the end of November 1892 for £62,000, thus costing the low figure of £5-2s-6d per 1,000 cubic feet – or less than a third of that of a few years before.
The two flying lifts were damaged following the Silvertown munitions
works explosion in 1917, and were removed. It was demolished in 1985, as surplus to requirements.

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