A certain beauty about her

Gasometer half demolished

Round about the mid nineteenth century a gas holder was built close to St Andrews Church, Hove. It was immense and completely overshadowed the church. Obviously in those days objections by the public to planning permission were not given the same importance.

Often on Boxing morning we would walk past with the kids and marvel at the amount of gas used to cook Xmas dinners. The holder let herself down but never us.

With the coming of natural gas the holder went out of use. She stood forlorn, unwanted and unpainted for at least 30 years. I always thought she had a certain beauty about her.

Her final despair must have been that, of all the people that jump up to object at planning stage for any piddling reasons – nobody, just nobody, loved an old but very elegant public friend enough to make even a token protest.

I am no better, I hope she forgave my betrayal.

Comments about this page

  • I remember the old lady too. When I went to George St School in the 40/50s, this giant was there. I wondered about the details when a teacher told us a war plane crashed into the ‘omitor’. Going to Connaught Rd School each day, I passed the gas company and the mystique still remains. I still remember clearly the dark red stove thay had in the showroom. At Brighton College, some class mates had the nerve to climb at night and hang an effigy from the top span, for the entertainment of the morning commuters. The church has always been special. I still feel good when I think about the wondeful and peaceful places in the church yard. The church has done well for us.

    By Richard White (23/08/2004)
  • It is a shame that the gas holder wasn’t made into a building with huge glass windows. Tesco’s could have used the gas tower and the lovely two buildings along side as part of the development. What a missed opportunity!

    By Andrew Buck (16/10/2005)
  • Only very recently, at the end of 2007, Google Earth showed the bases of all four pre existing gas holder bases.
    Now, it’s been replaced by a contemporary, and far less interesting view showing the superstore’s roof and associated car park. There is one gas holder in Vienna which has been turned into a shopping mall. Over in Brighton, on what shows on my 1932 map as being Riflebutt Road, now renamed Marina way, there were four gas holders. My 1992 A-Z shows three, the Southernmost having gone. Now, only the middle two remain. I don’t rate the chances of the remaining two as modern practices make these intriguing behemoths expendable.

    By Tony Ling (05/01/2008)
  • Thank you, Dave Huggins for your comments about the old gas holder by the church. I would correct you though, on one point. The holder was not put out of use until the very end, when the yard was closed. As a point of interest, does anyone recall the oddly named Lousy Lane which ran from Church Road up the west side of the gas showrooms? I’ve often wondered about the name.

    By Ron Charlton (13/08/2009)

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