Tyne and Wear HER(1575): Hendon, Gas Works - Details
Hendon, Gas Works
Coal Gas Structure
Not shown on 1st edition Ordnance Survey map map, area undeveloped apart from several farms. The gas works are shown on the second edition map and there is still a gas works on the site today. In 1854 the Subscription Gas Corporation, the Monkwearmouth Subscription Gas Company and the Sunderland Gas Light Companymerged to form the Sunderland Gas Company. They bought a 23 acre site at Henson in 1860. The gas works were designed by Thomas and Charles Hawksley (father and son). Thomas Hawksley designed water pumping stations at Ryhope, Fulwell and Cleadon. By 1877 the works were extended to increase gas output capacity. Coal gas was produced by heating coal in a coal-carbonisation retort until the volatile materials were removed. The gases then passed through condensers at the end of the retort house. Coke was a by-product of the process. The condensed gas was purified in purifying sheds before being stored in the gas holders. In 1902 the gas works were mechanised, meaning that the charging and discharging of retorts was no longer done by hand. Charles Drew Drury was the manager at that time. A plan of the gas works (DT.NER3/16/203-205) shows four gas holders and three retort houses with two coal sheds each. In 1908 the works were shut down and entirely re-constructed apart from two gas holders. The works re-opened in 1909. In 1919 Sunderland Gas Company applied to parliament for planning permission to enlarge their works at Hendon and at Ayres Quay. After the Second World War, the Sunderland Gas Company was nationalised. In 1957 the works were demolished. Exposives had to be used to break up the brickwork and concrete of the retort houses. New industrial buildings were built by 1965. By 1991 the two most northern gas holders were removed. The empty bases were backfilled with waste. Surviving historic structures - there are three gas holders on the site, and the centre one is listed grade 2 (HER 13618). One wall of No. 2 retort house, built in 1894, survives as a boundary wall. There are two Italianate buildings of 1860 on the site and one brickbuilding of circa 1940. There is also a concrete air raid shelter (HER 13617).
T. Corfe, 1983, The Buildings of Sunderland, 1814-1914, p 19; 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map, 1895; Dagmar Richardson, TWM Archaeology, 2011, The Former Hendon Gas Works Site, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear - Archaeological Desk Based Assessment; A. Brett, 1990, Sunderland People and Places; G. Cookson, 2010, Sunderland - Building a City; T. Corfe, 1973, History of Sunderland; RA Waters, 1900, Hendon Past and Present; Durham Record Office D/Gsu 43 Sunderland Gas Works, Hendon Station Extension 1877; Tyne and Wear Archives DT.NER3/16/203-205 plan of Hendon Gas Works 1906; John Mabbitt, Entec UK Ltd, 2009, Jack Crawford House, Historic Environment Appraisal; National Monuments Record 956506, 956507, 956511, 956509, 956505, 956510, 956508, 956507; The Archaeological Practice Ltd, 2014, The former Hendon Gas Works Site, Jack Crawford House, Sunderland - Archaeological Watching Brief; Archaeological Research Services Ltd. 2014, Gas Holder, Commercial Road, Hendon, Sunderland, Historic Buildings Recording; Entec UK Ltd, 2009, Commercial Road, Sunderland - Historic Environment Appraisal