Saturday, May 3, 2014


Warwick in progress

In Warwick recently, I thought I’d walk a little way out of the town centre to have a look at the gas works, a building of 1822 that was said to be one of the oldest and best preserved early gas works in the country. I found that the builders were in, but that I could still make out the outline of the original building above their bright blue protective fencing.

To say that the gas works is preserved is true, up to a point. The gas holders, once contained in the octagonal towers at either end, are long gone, but the walls that contained them are still there, together with the connecting office building in between, so that one can get a good idea of the front of the original building. The whole is stuccoed and the facade has those concentric semicircular arches that Regency builders so liked. Gothic glazing bars are being replaced in the windows, those in the tower originally being false.

The original builders seem to have gone to a lot of trouble to wrap their gas works in elegant clothing – it’s all a far cry from the more familiar exposed gasometers, all girders and rust, that have an attraction all their own. The result is that the building, now it is a gasworks no more, can have other lives. It was converted to offices, but is now being made over once more to provide housing, with a scheduled completion time of spring 2015. It seems a good solution for a building that has outlived its original use but whose facade and exterior form is certainly worth preserving. A worthwhile work in progress.


worm said...

I live about 500 metres away from this place!

It has actually been left in this semi-completed state for about 6 years now...hope they get round to finishing it some time!

Did you see the old leper hospital just down the road? That is still empty and crumbling as I guess no one wants a 'poisoned' patch of ground...interesting how such irrational attitudes linger

Philip Wilkinson said...

Thanks, Worm, for your comment. I'd no idea that the project had been left half-completed for so long. Hope they get a move-on soon. Yes, I saw the old hospital - sad.

Eileen Wright said...

I love the regency style window replacements. I always think of them as 'Sidmouth Windows' due to the abundance of them in the wonderfully preserved Regency seaside town. It does feel a little strange to see them elsewhere, mind, but altogether a fab find of a building.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Here's to Sidmouth! I've not been there for years, not since before I started to take photographs. Another place on my list of towns to revisit - thanks for the reminder.