Tyne and Wear HER(4131): Newcastle, Forth Street, Manor Place Gas Works - Details
Newcastle, Forth Street, Manor Place Gas Works
Coal Gas Structure
A Gas Works. These are not shown on the 2nd edition OS mapping, so were out of use by 1895. The retort House then became a coach and rolley works (HER 10211). The gas works date from 1825 to 1860. Mackenzie described the development of gas works in 1827 thus: "The town within the walls was, in 1811, lighted by about 750 oil-lamps; but on Tuesday evening, January 1818, Mosley Street was lighted with gas; and these brilliant lights were soon extended to other parts of the town… The original gas-works were erected in Forth Street (HER 15063), and the lights were first exhibited on Saturday, Jan 10, 1818. These works are now abandoned, others having been erected in Manor Place, where are two gasometers, capable of containing 34,000 cubic feet". It is assumed that this is the Manor Place gas works. An archaeological evaluation in April 2012 recorded the sandstone walls of the gas works surviving up to 1.34m high and brick floors. Two drains, one brick-lined, the other stone-capped ran beneath the gasworks. A reverse 'C' shaped structure incorporating several flues was recorded. The flue channel was filled with silty lime (lime was used to remove ammonia from the coal gas). Brick plinths may have supported a wooden floor. A second flue was filled with red-purple coke and gritty coal dust (waste material from the retort). The central part of the excavation area had been remodelled as a retort house, with a well-built brick floor. The positions of the cast iron retorts were marked by six areas of crushed burnt brick, each 4m x 0.70m in size. The brick was stained with soot, and there was pieces of coke and 'blue billy' (lime waste containing sulphur, nitrogen of ammonia, ferro ferrocyanide or Prussian Blue, arsenic etc). There would have been an area for coal storage near to the retorts and an area for the removal of coke following the extraction of the coal gas. North of the retort floor there was another brick floor with firebrick-lined flues running through it. These were probably for the circulation of steam of heated air. The gas works were abandoned in 1859 for the new works in Elswick. The retort house was redeveloped as a coach works (HER 10211). The gasworks were revealed during evaluation and excavation in 2012 by TWM ahead of the construction of a hotel. The footprints of 6 iron retorts were also located.
<< HER 4131 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, 1864, 6 inch scale, Northumberland, 97; T. Frain, TWM Archaeology, 2012, Stephenson Quarter, Area A: Gasworks - Archaeological Evaluation and Excavation; Chandler and Lacey, 1949, The Rise of the Gas Industry in Britain; W. Jones, 2006, Dictionary of Industrial Archaeology; E. Mackenzie, 1827, Historical Account of Newcastle-upon Tyne Including the Borough of Gateshead; PLB Consulting and Northern Counties Archaeological Services, 2001, Stephenson Quarter: Conservation Plan and Archaeological Assessment; M Palmer, M Neville and M Sissons, 2012, Industrial Archaeology: A Handbook; AD Archaeology, 2015, Site A and Site B-D Stephenson Quarter, Newcastle upon Tyne - Archaeological Watching Brief