Saturday, 25 April 2015

Thomas Dalton and the Poplar Tar Works

To return to the Chartered Gas Company's Poplar Tar Works, closed as a failure and sold to Turner, Shakell and Hopkinson….. who were Turner, Shakell and Hopkinson and what happened to them?


The partnership at Orchard Place does not seem to have lasted very long because later directory entries only mention a Mr. Turner. In 1839 a William Hopkinson was an oil and colourman in The Barbican while Shackell and How were printing ink, varnish makers and oil merchants at Coppice Row, Clerkenwell. Did they find the use of coal tar for varnishes and oils unfruitful and leave the partnership and Mr. Turner in Orchard Place?

Turner had had plans to manufacture 'various articles' from coal tar and had already been using it for ten years when he bought the Orchard Place works and he continued to buy tar from Chartered. Twenty years later, still there, he was in an 'advantageous position' as the 'only varnish maker' in that area. His Roman cement business has been mentioned above. The site was still a tar works in the 1880s and this continued use must indicate some measure of success.
Cassell had taken over the City Gas Company works in the 1820s and stayed in business there, in one form or another, until the early 1860s. Nearly thirty-five years of production from gas industry tar can hardly be called a failure.


These tar distillers were part of a movement in which the material was gradually exploited to make new materials. Several of these uses have been discussed above. The continued existence of these works raises the question as to whether the gas company tar works really failed. Failed tar works were bought by others who made them profitable and were able to help in the exploitation of coal tar by a wide range of industries.

Monday, 30 March 2015

ARTICLES ABOUT GEORGE LIVESEY

includes George Livesey's Co-partnership ideals. New post (sorry can't load PDFs onto this blog)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Woolwich gas works dig

I have put on the Greenwich Industrial History blog two old articles, and an old one of mine about three of the Woolwich gas works.

http://greenwichindustrialhistory.blogspot.com/2015/03/great-to-see-on-facebook-that-there-is.html

I have also given links there to pictures and information from Historic Woolwich about finds they have made on the Woolwich waterfront in the course of an archaeological dig

Sunday, 23 November 2014

A TALK ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE GAS HOLDER
By GEORGE LIVESEY.

(will add date and source of this in due course. It is early 1890s)
 
MR. PRESIDENT AND GENTLEMEN: I have been too busy to write a paper, but it has occurred to me to have something to say on the development of the gasholder. This was brought, about by reading the admirable address of Mr. Hunt before the Midland Association, in which I noticed a series of omissions with which I shall deal later on. Your President, in introducing the subject, has used the word evolution of the gasholder. The word I use is development of the gasholder. I cannot understand evolution in connection with it; I cannot understand the gasholder growing out of a shovel or anything of that kind, but I can understand a man, when the necessity arises for something new, devising something to meet that necessity, and I can understand that, as circumstances change the invention may be developed to a ·much greater extent than` was anticipated by the original contriver of the apparatus.

Now, the gasholder today is to all intents and purposes the same in essence and in principle as the first gasholder that was ever made for use on the works. The skeleton diagram shows different sizes of gasholders; there is a little one at the bottom which I assume to have been one of the first gasholders that was made; I daresay it is larger than the first. I take the size - it is an imaginary size - as 12 feet diameter by 12 feet high, but I expect the first gasholder was even smaller than that. The contents of such a gasholder will be about 1200 cubic feet, and the only difference between that and the largest in existence is that the contents of the largest is about ten, thousand times as much as that of the first one that was made --  12,000,000 cubic feet, as against 1,200 cubic feet. The first gasholder, I suppose, was built upon the premises of our friends the Gas Light and Coke Company, and at that time there was no question whatever that they led the world in gasholders and everything else. I do not know when they lost the lead, but they certainly have lost it for a great many years.

The first gasholder I saw was one of the Gas Light and Coke Company’s, in 1838. My father was engaged in the works in Brick Lane. I can remember him taking me to the gas works but my memory of these gasholders is too hazy for me to venture to say anything about them. But I can go back to 1840.  The first gasholder I remember being built was in 1840.   I was playing about the tank, and running along the planks one evening, as I had not got the rhythm of the plank, the next instant I found myself in a puddle at the bottom of the tank, fortunately not hurt. That gasholder cost £35 per thousand cubic feet capacity; and the last one built by the South Metropolitan Gas Company cost £5 per thousand cubic feet capacity, so that there is a great difference in the matter of price. I can remember distinctly the gasholders at the Old Kent Road works in the thirties. The first was a central guided one (No. 1) of 53 feet diameter and 12 feet deep, holding 30,000 cubic feet of gas. In the centre was a cast iron column with a roller at the bottom and a roller at the top; and it was surrounded by a. brick wall to keep it from the wind. Then came another similar holder, a telescope holder holding 44,000 cubic feet. It had a timber frame of really highly scientific geometrical construction, with single timber uprights, but the top beams holding them together were very well contrived indeed. Then came the gasholder I have referred to which was built in 1840. That had a cast-iron frame with tripod standards held together at the top, not by horizontal girders stretching from standard to standard, but by two triangles of girders, making, in fact, a frame that was the strongest, I suppose, that was ever seen for a small gasholder, only holding 60,000 or 70,000 cubic feet. It was a cast iron frame, and it was such that it would almost have held a ship of war from tumbling over.

That is as far as I recollect of the forties; but when we come to the fifties we come to a striking innovation in the manufacture and construction of gasholders by the late Mr. Croll. I have mentioned the telescopic gasholder. I do not know who the originator of .the telescopic holder was, but I think the originator of the telescope was the originator of all our large holders, for without the principle of telescoping it would have been quite impossible to make gasholders such as we have now. Whoever he was, he was a clever and ingenious fellow, and we owe him a debt of gratitude for his contrivance. Mr. Croll had the idea that too much money was being spent on gasholders, and at his works at Bow, for the Great Central Gas Company, and also at Rotherhithe, for the Surrey Consumers Company, he constructed some very light gasholders about the year 1850, upon which, some five and twenty years afterwards, there was an interesting discussion before the old British Association of Gas Managers, Mr. George Anderson taking a part in it with the late Mr. Thomas Hawksley; and it was Thomas Hawksley who used the expression gossamer gas holders in describing these holders at Bow and Rotherhithe. Robert Harris said afterwards: Well, whether you call them gasholders or not, all I can say is they are standing nothing has happened to them. They were untrussed, but that was nothing new, because the first gasholders ever built which were 10 or 12 feet in diameter, must have been untrussed

Then came trussing and large diameters, and then Croll went to considerable diameters without trussing; moreover the guide framing was of a very light character, and these holders stood, and stood well. Up to this time I do know w here the largest gasholder was. The largest gasholder I, can remember was in 1854 - I can go back to 1851. I remember going to see the gasholder built by the late Mr. William Innes, engineer of the Phoenix Gas Company, at the Kennington station. That Kennington station had been the property of the Southwark and Vauxhall Water Company .I suppose where their reservoirs were placed. The Gas Company bought this land containing the reservoir, and, I believe put a gasholder in one of the tanks. I am not sure whether this gasholder Innes built was not the one put in one of the reservoirs. [Mr. May, Richmond, said it was.] That contained 1,400,000 cubic feet, and was the largest gasholder of its time. It was 160 feet in diameter by 35 feet deep, and believe had two lifts. Innes adopted a very singular method of guiding It., Instead of the ordinary cast iron columns, he made a column of thick boiler plate and fixed it at the bottom in a little shallow cast iron socket, and he bolted it by a simple flange to a cast iron plate, and covered it over with sham moulding. Then at the top he just connected them by ties. After the amalgamation of the South Metropolitan we felt uncomfortable with those columns, and we put girders upon them. But the fact that such columns on such all unstable base held as they did for thirty years in a prominent position, exposed to all sorts of winds, without any mishap or any risk of any kind occurring, seems to indicate that very little is necessary to keep a gas holder in its place, and proves, moreover, that the direction in which some had been going was quite mistaken, in building these enormously strong framings.

In 1854 that was the largest gasholder in existence. Then we come to about the year 1860, when the late Robert Jones came upon the field. He was the first to build a gasholder containing about 2,000,000 cubic feet. He built two, one at the Commercial works, where he was engineer, and one at the London works, where he was consulting engineer - at Nine Elms, where they are still in existence, two lift gasholders. But the one at Stepney has been converted into a three lift, making the capacity 3,000,000 cubic feet; and the father of our friend here, Mr: Jones who gave us a paper yesterday, was the man to take the lead, and he built a large holder with contents of 2,000,000 cubic feet.

Well, I will go on with this about the size of gasholders and deal with other matters afterwards.  The next step in size was made by Mr. Thomas Kirkham, of Fulham, and that holder is there now, with a very highly ornate framing, with cast iron columns and cast iron girders, with a lot of tracery. The contents of that holder are about 2,600,000 cubic feet. Then we come to the seventies, and the honour must be given to our friend Mr. Corbet Woodall, who built a large holder at Kennington. He went to about 3,100,000 cubic feet. I think this holder is of 218 feet diameter and 45 feet, deep. That has been converted into a four lift holder since, and the capacity: of 3,000,000 cubic feet has been converted into a capacity of 6, OOO,OOO. But in the case, of that holder we have wrought iron framing - a sort of tripod standard and lattice girders. That was the step to 3,100,000 feet capacity.  Then came the holder in the Old Kent Road, which went to 5,500,000, and which adopted more than had been done before the diagonal system of framing. Now I come to Mr. Hunt’s omissions in his address to the Midland Association. In speaking of gas holders, Mr. Hunt did not say one word about a pair of handsome structures which he put up at Birmingham capable of containing 6,000,000 cubic feet each. In each there is deal of originality of design, particularly in the standards which are exceptionally graceful in strength, with double columns. Mr. Hunt then had to live as the largest gas constructor in the world. After that I think there were several large gasholders made, but the next step was to 8,000,000 cubic feet, at East Greenwich. That is a four lift holder 240 feet in diameter and 45 feet deep, with a very expensive tank. The ground was full of water and a great deal of pumping was required.  The cost of the Old Kent Road holder (the 5,500,000 cubic feet one was about £9 per thousand cubic feet capacity, and in the case of the 8,000,000 one the price only reduced to £8 owing to the expensiveness of the tank.

I ought to have said that Mr. Corbet Woodall’s great holder at Kennington was without internal trussing. It was one of the largest. Mr. Jones at, Stepney was practically without trussing, but Corbet Woodall’s was entirely without it depending entirely on the supporting frame of the tank. The 8,000,000 cubic feet holder at Greenwich, as I say cost about £9 per thousand cubic feet capacity, and also is without trussing. There were several other 8,000,000 feet holders, built (some by our. friends, the Chartered, and others at Glasgow); and then we come to the largest size, 12,000,000 cubic feet, at Greenwich with a shallow tank, 300 feet in diameter, by 30 feet in depth.

I should like to say a word here with reference to my, brother. It was his idea to construct a shallow tank. After the construction of the first tank at East Greenwich it occurred to him that it would be a great saving if we could build a tank without pumping. We adopted the idea, excavating down as far as the water would allow; in fact, until we reached water and made up, the height above ground. So we there have a tank 30 feet deep only for a holder 300 feet in diameter. To meet the difficulty of guiding such a holder we had to devise a special system of guide rollers for the inner lift to prevent it tilting. We combined the English and the French systems - the English radial with the French tangential roller top and bottom - and we think we have succeeded in making it safe for filling and emptying the top lift. I am not sure whether it would not be, better (to make perfectly sure with these shallow holders and top lifts going above the framing) to adopt Pease’s wire rope guiding as well as rollers
 
Now we come to one or two other points about gasholders. First thing is with regard to the framing. I believe the builders of gasholders were mortally afraid of going up in height, and you can see at some of the old works, as I have, single lift holders with these enormously strong tripods as guides. They all seem to have had an idea that it was dangerous to go high, and I believe that was why preference was given to the single lift and the man who first introduced a telescope holder was a bold one. The most notable advance in telescopic holder building was made by the late William Mann -I am afraid my friends do not remember him. He was universally respected, and he was a man of whom I never heard a single word of disparagement. When he was engineer of the City gasworks at Blackfriars he was very much cramped for room and there was nothing for it but to go up. He then built a three lift holder. It was one of the finest objects to be seen on the left hand side crossing over Blackfriars Bridge. It was 100 feet high, 84 feet in diameter, had three lifts of something over 30 feet each, and stood in an iron tank somewhat above the ground. Here I think the diagonal bracing was introduced in a scientific and thorough manner, and it is the first instance I ever recollect of its being so used; all that was some time in the sixties. It was used as a development in the gasholder in order to make it safe in going to such unwonted height as 100 feet. That, I consider, was a most important step in the construction of telescopic gasholders. 

Mr MAY (Richmond) That framing, it may be interesting to you to know, was reerected at Calcutta.  

Mr. LIVESEY: In the early days it was the great object to have as little pressure as possible. Gasholders were made light and, of large diameter, consequently giving very little pressure. Then when they came to adopt the telescopic method, they had balance weights to balance all three points and to keep the top level. They seem to have been very much afraid of going up; but at any rate we have got past that ere now and it was only a development to meet the size, and to meet the enormous advance in the gas production,

 The first curb was a small angle iron, and nothing else. When you come to trussing, they put in a couple of angle irons, and a bolt between these two angle irons carried the trussing. With regard to the trussing, Mr. Hawksley said that an untrussed holder was, like a wheel without the spokes. That was his expression; the trussing tended to keep the thing in a true circle. When trussing was done away with it was necessary to make the curbs considerably stronger and the box girder system was introduced. Then curved thick plates came into vogue. Mr. Woodall adopted those at .his gasholder at Kennington, and it has been adopted pretty generally. The reason why he adopted it was that in visiting the gasworks, I think it was Kings Cross one day he noticed an untrussed crown, and this plate was buckled in a series of little hills and valleys running from the circumference to the centre and giving an idea that the curve had given way to compression. That led him to believe that if we could keep that plate rigid and true we should greatly increases the strength of the curb. Others, I suppose, came to the same conclusion certainly Mr. Woodall did in his holder at Kennington and that eventually came to be a very common form of crown plate.

Then another thing. I take it one of the greatest improvements ever made in gasholders was Piggott's·cup. It very commonly happened that leakage took place between the rivets and it was common experience of gasmen in those days to have to repair the cup; the thing had to be hoisted out of the tank, and there was no end of trouble to· renew the cup. Then Mabon obtained a patent. Horton infringed it and there was a lawsuit at Manchester in the year 1862, between them on the question. Piggott, the engineering member of the firm, the son of the late Thomas Piggott, was present at the trial, and while he was there the idea occurred to him, why not bend the plate? In, 1862 they had a: contract with the South Metropolitan Company for the building of gasholders. The contract was let and the work was in progress and they came to us and said ‘will you let us try this form of cup?’  We consented; Piggott’s cup was put into that gasholder in 1862, it is at work now, and there had never been any trouble with it. I therefore think that one of the greatest improvements ever made in the matter of gasholders was the invention by the late George Piggott of this cup.

Then as to the framing, I may mention that John Paddon introduced the arrangement shown on the diagram at Brighton or at Hove, rather. As he built his gasholders to a considerable height and they were exposed to gales being near the sea he put in trusses so as to give rigidity to the top of the frames.  It was a very common practice in the early days on the introduction of lattice girders to try and ornament them and rosettes at the junction of the lattices. These rosettes harboured rust and certainly they could not paint or do anything under them. We had a similar thing in some of the gasholders at South Metropolitan and I had them all taken off, so that you have the iron of the girders get-at-able. While I am on the subject of ornament I may tell you a little of my late friend, Major Dresser. One day, when we got the gasholder in the Old Kent Road nearly finished, he paid me a visit, our late friend, John Somerville, was experimenting at the time with ornamental finials to the standards. He made them of different shapes, and had one shape on the top of this standard and another of a different shape on the top of the next. Major Dresser looked and said: "What on earth are those things? “Well, I said, “they are intended for ornament”. “Ornament!” said he “you have not got a particle of ornament about a gas holder; do not spoil it by putting up those monstrosities”. We have followed his advice, and have never since tried to put anything in the shape of ornament upon a gasholder.

The reason I propose plate girders instead of lattice girders is that the things have to last forty or fifty years, and I think a plate girder is less likely to rust and is more get at able for the purpose of painting than the lattice girder. There are examples in Mann’s framing; the 5000.000,cublC feet holder in the Old Rent Road with double diagonal bracing and is the 8,000,000 cubic feet holder at East Greenwich. with triple diagonal bracing. But there it is overdone. We put in the double bracing and then consulted an eminent engineer, who said, “Well, I am not quite sure about it but it might be wise to put in a little more, and so in addition to this double bracing we put in a third, so that looked a perfect network of bracing. The trouble with this system was that there was difficulty in getting the bars properly fitted in, and when we built this holder we made up our minds we never would never have any more with ties. The next was the 12,000,000 holder at East Greenwich in which two lifts go out of the frame, and there is diagonal bracing consisted of struts only, the strongest struts that you could use We have no cross girders except at the top. That holder has two lifts going out. We have one at Rotherhithe with two going out also. I might say a word about that I believe it is safe enough for a gasholder to have one third of its height or one fifth of its height, above the, frame, but I should not like to build one with half its height: above the frame. It seems to throw too much strain upon the rollers and upon the bearing parts

I must not forget to mention here various men and amongst the rest Mr. Webber, who, in the eighties, took a very prominent part, and a very useful part, in gasholder building, and who was, I believe, in favour of doing away with the frame. Then came Gadd and Mason with the invention of a spiral guide. Then came Pease with a really clever invention of a wire rope guiding.  It cannot be disputed that both of these systems were successful, but my objection to them is that the stress of the wind coming on the gasholder must be carried to the ground in some way, and I contend, that it is better that stress or pressure should be carried independently of the holder. If it is not carried to the ground by the framing, (when there is no frame) it must be carried to the ground by the sheeting and that I think would impose a strain on the sheeting.  It ought not to bear. Apropos of this I may mention that when I was quite young one thing puzzled me very much, viz. that the sides of the gasholders seemed to last when the crown became leaky and worn out. I said to myself: “Well here is a funny thing. Here are the sides going in and out of the water every day and they keep all right, and the crown never going into the water at all becomes leaky and has to be patched”. I think the explanation is that whereas the sides have no work to do the crown has a great deal of work to so and constantly changing work. When it is down it is not in tension at all; when it is up there is a certain tension, which comes on the plates. When it takes on the second lift there is greater tension and so on, a constantly varying tension which seems to me one of the causes why the crown gives way more than the sides.       ,

 
Then as to the systems of guiding. The English system was to have small radial rollers. The French system to have tangential rollers. I first saw them in Paris in the seventies. When we built the 5,000,000 cubic feet holder in the Old Kent Road we combined the tangential and the radial. But there is a difficulty in erecting the tangential so far from the holder. If you put them on, the side of the holder it is all right but for your top carriages you cannot do it, and it is rather weak. Then we contrived an angular system. I must say that I think the tangential is better than the radial because it gives double bearing points in a holder, especially when ‘applied as the French do it. You have twice as many points in the tangential system as you have in the radial, and our system is something betwixt and between in .which we have found advantages.

With regard to the size of gasholders, I think I may say that the mishaps' and difficulties we have with them are much less - now that we have gone to these enormous sizes than they were in the past with the small sizes. It used to be the practice to load holders to give the necessary pressure, and I remember one which was loaded with mouthpieces all round the top which made it top heavy. The holder tilted, as it might have been expected to do. They sent for a consulting engineer, and 'John Kirkham, who was of Pickwickian build, got a lot of the stokers on to the holder to drag the mouthpieces from one side to the other, and while they were dragging these mouth pieces about the holder suddenly tilted to the other side and shot the mouthpieces and the stokers and the consulting engineer to the ground. We are spared these difficulties

Then I once saw a gasholder on fire, the gasholder in the Old-Kent Road with the iron frame. One morning they found that something had happened to it in the night. They attempted to repair at, and brought a light or a red-hot iron, or something or other, near it, and it ignited, and I can remember distinctly a long flame of fire coming out from the crown. I was ' not quite sure about my recollections, but I asked an old pensioner the other day who worked with us in those days, and he said he remembered it quite well. I saw it. It burnt itself out, in accordance with my recollection. I was about ten years old. They simply looked at .it until it sank into the tank, and no harm whatever resulted.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Dr Mculloch on Bistre


From the earliest days of the manufacture of coal gas for lighting there has been an accompanying scientific discourse and experimentation on how the distillation of coal, and its products, could be used.    The vast amount of work done by scientists in the early period of coal gas manufacture has barely been recorded - yet without it the industry could not have been so successful and, indeed, may not have taken off at all.
 
The paper below may seem to have little to do with coal gas manufacture - but it is part of an ongoing discourse on a wide range of products and applications by scientists from many disciplines and backgrounds.
 
 
For local Greenwich people - John McCulloch was a doctor and geologist. He was appointed as an assistant surgeon rising to Surgeon in the Royal Artillery and in 1803, became Chemist to the Board of Ordnance (which means he was in Woolwich - one of a very large number of distinguished scientists there).  He also lived in Blackheath where he practised as a physician. 
 
 
Geological Society meeting May 1st 1812

A paper by Dr. Mculloch (Member of the Society) On Bistre and other substances produced in the distillation of wood; and on their analogy with the native Bitumens, was read.

When wood is submitted to destructive distillation, there is obtained, among other products, a black substance resembling common tar. This tar is very inflammable, and so liquid that it may be burnt in a lamp. By washing it with water either hot or cold, or submitting it to the action, of lime or of the mild alkalis, a large portion of acetic acid is separated, and the residue becomes pitchy and tenacious. It is entirely soluble in caustic alkali, in alcohol, in ether, in acetic acid, and in the mineral acids. The fat oils and the recent essential oils dissolve but little of it; but if the former are made drying, and if the latter have become brown by keeping, they then act more readily and copiously. Coloured oil of turpentine takes up a considerable quantity, but naphtha only acquires a scarcely sensible brown colour by digestion upon it. When carefully distilled at a gentle heat it is decomposed into an oily matter, at first limpid and afterwards brown, a quantity of acetic acid combined with-a little ammonia; and a spongy coal remains in the retort. In this process no inflammable gas is given out; but at a high temperature the oil is more or less decomposed, and an inflammable gas is produced  which, however, does not burn with a flame by any means so bright as the gas from pit-coal.  If this destructive distillation is not carried very far, the matter in the retort  will be found, when cold, to be-solid, brilliant, shining, and possessed of a conchoidal fracture: its taste is burning and pungent, and its' odour is that of wood smoke  it  is fusible and readily inflammable. When kept melted in an open vessel till it ceases to be fusible, it becomes more and more brilliant, its fracture passes to splintery, and it assumes the perfect appearance of asphaltum. In proportion as it approaches this state it becomes less and less soluble in alcohol, and at length scarcely gives a stain to this menstruum.  Naphtha has no action on it, and in this circumstance alone it differs from asphaltum.  Dr. M then proceeds to an examination of the Bitumens and shows that the difference between the products of recent vegetable matter, and of the bitumens when subjected to distillation, consists in the former yielding empyreumatic acetic acid and a black pitchy matter insoluble in naphtha; while the latter afford ammonia and naphtha, but little or no acid. He then enters into a detailed investigation of the proper lies of the very important class of Lignites. Of those substances, such as peat, surturbrand, Bovey coal, &c; in which the traces of vegetable origin are not obliterated.
Submerged wood from peat mosses gave brown oil smelling of wood-tar, and refusing -to dissolve in naphtha. A compact pitchy-looking peat gave a. fetid oil resembling in odour neither wood-tar nor .bitumen, and very lightly soluble in naphtha.
Bovey brown coal gave an. oil resembling in odour, that of wood-tar, but much more soluble in naphtha: that portion of the oil which was insoluble in this menstruum had a strong odour of wood smoke. '
'The oil of jet was almost perfectly soluble in naphtha, and smelled, strongly of petroleum; but it afforded also empyreumatie acetic acid.
Thus it appears that there exists a class of fossils of undoubted vegetable origin, which exhibit the gradual progress from wood to bitumen, and in which this change has been brought about by the action not of heat but of water.
The experiments, however, of Sir James Hall seem to show that heat with compression is also capable of converting wood into coal.  A critical examination of this fact was the next object of Dr. M; and he found on heating wood in close gun-barrels that a black coaly-looking sub stance was indeed produced, but that it consisted wholly of charcoal, empyreumatic acid; and wood- tar, and did not contain the smallest portion of real bitumen. Hence the experiments alluded to do by no means prove the possibility of converting vegetable matter into real coal by mere heat. It appears however to Dr. M that the consolidation of bituminous vegetable into coal is not unlikely to be the effect of subterranean heat.
The paper concludes by showing the identity of the pitch procured from the distillation of wood and the pigment called Bistre; and points out methods of obtaining it in a state better fitted than common bistre for the purposes of the artist; and also enumerates several other uses to which this substance may be economically applied.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Tar Tower


The sketch on this page represents what is known as the Tar Tower. The rectangular box-like vessel is the hydraulic main, which acts as a collecting chamber for the gas from the separate retorts in the setting.

The gas passes from the retort to the hydraulic main by way of the ascension, bridge and dip pipes, three of which are shown.

The dip pipe projects downwards inside the hydraulic main, the lower end being immersed m ammoniacal liquor to the extent of about a quarter of an inch. This is known, as a "hydraulic seal," and its purpose is to prevent gas from flowing from the hydraulic mains back through the dip pipes to the retorts.

The gas is very hot when it leaves the retort, and carries with it tar and water vapour, much of which condenses in the relatively cool hydraulic main, and this condensate, together with other liquor which is added to ensure a sufficiency, provides the" hydraulic seal" for the lower end of the dip pipes.

The depth of the seal in each dip pipe must be the same to ensure equal pressure conditions in all retorts in the setting. Provision is therefore made for the removal of the (words missing)

The tower receives the condensate from a number of hydraulic mains by way of a connection known as the tar main, and the liquor, by reason of its higher gravity, sinks to .the bottom of the tower.

Inside the tower a cup or weir is fixed at the level it is required to maintain in the hydraulic mains, and the separated liquor flows through this cup and a scaled pipe to the storage tank. The tar is removed periodically by way of the pipe at the bottom of the tower and flows into the funnel and away to the storage well, liquor being supplied to maintain the level in the tower.

A small pipe, known as the “equilibrium pipe" connects the top of the towel to the “foul main" to maintain equal pressure conditions in the tower and the "foul main" into which the gas flows from the hydraulic main.

ASI

Co-partnership Herald. (date not known, probably 1920s)

Thursday, 29 May 2014

South Met Co-partnership Committee


SOUTH METROPOLITANGAS COMPANY    
 
CO -PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE
 
 
The following report is taken from Co-partnership Journal in 1908. George Livesey had died a few weeks earlier - and the committee is discussing how representation of gas workers on various boards needs to be changed.
 
 
Our Co-Partnership Committee held its first meeting on May 21, 1890, and at that and every meeting until October 14, 1908, Sir George Livesey-presided, but, as we all too well knew, death had ten days previously taken our President from us. This present gathering was, therefore, presided over by the new Chairman of the Company, Mr. Robert Morton, who, after the minutes of the previous meeting (September) had been accepted, and a letter had been read from Mr. Charles Carpenter, the Chief Engineer, in answer to a kindly word sent him by the Committee when he was ill, thanking them for their thoughtful message, referred to our sad loss in the death of Sir George Livesey, whom he had known intimately for over forty years. As we were sharers in grief so, said he, were we sharers in consolation to the widow, who was still in our memories and heads. Letters of sympathy had been sent to her from all directions, but he was sure none would be more appreciated than those sent by the workers in the Company. He hoped that we should perpetuate Sir George's memory by carrying on the work in which our late Chairman had spent the last years of his life, and make Co-Partnership a continued success. Mr. Morton concluded his touching reference to Sir George by quoting from a letter that he had received during the fatal illness: "It may be the beginning of the end, and if so, God's will be done". It was afterwards proposed and unanimously agreed to send this letter of condolence  to Lady Livesey :-
 
"The members of the Co-Partnership Committee of the South Metropolitan Gas Company desire to express to Lady Livesey their heart-felt sorrow and sympathy in her sad bereavement. They hope it may be some slight consolation to Lady Livesey to be assured that the memory of Sir George will ever affectionately and gratefully remain in the hearts of all of the employees of this Company as one who in the midst of his multiplicity of great tasks, invariably found time to study their best interests, and never tired of using his fertile mind for developing schemes for their benefit, the greatest of which was his world-renowned Co-Partnership system. The members of-this Committee have enjoyed the high privilege of- coming in close contact with Sir George, who presided at the meetings since their inauguration in May 1890, and it is with the profoundest grief they mourn the loss of his unique personality, of his wise counsel and his friendly guidance. They feel that although his call to higher service leaves the world the poorer, yet" the influence of his splendid example and noble character will live on, and continue to animate not only themselves, but vast numbers of their fellow employees and others, to carry out the principles which he so' practically demonstrated.... It is the Committee’s sincerest wish that Lady Livesey may be endued with special strength to bear her heavy trial and irreparable loss".   
 
Mr. Carpenter brought up the following' proposal of the Sub- Committee· appointed to go into the question of the enlargement-of the-Committee, with the object of making it more representative of the Employees: - ,-   
 
SUGGESTED INCREASE OF WORKMEN’S REPRESENTATION.
 
 
EAST GREENWICH STATION
(Increase from 3 to 4).
 
Cawte,T. A.  Coke Worker, Coal and Coke Dept   
Robertson, J... Fitter, Yard and Chemicals   
Middleton, W. W. Fitter, Repairing Shops   
To be elected from Carbonising   
 
OLD KENT ROAD   Outdoor  
(Decrease from 3 to 2)
 
Clarke, H. Slot Meter Collector, Slot Meter and Index Readers
Cox, G.  District Fitter, Old Kent Road Outdoor
 
 
NEW REPRESENTATION.

Streatham Depot    
Greenwich Depot  
Woolwich Depot    
Clapham Depot     
Lee Depot          
Brixton Depot     Chandler J.
Lamplighters        
Mains              
 
ROTHERHITHE STATION
(2 representatives, same)
Brown, H.   Carpenter,    Yard   
West, H.J.  Fitter , Carbonising, Coal and Coke   
 
VAUXHALL STATION   
(3 representatives, same).  
Ryder, A.C.   Stoker,  Carbonising,
Fox, A. Coal Filler,  Coal and Coke
Parker, G. Labourer, Yard   
 
OLD KENT ROAD (Works).   
Froude, G. Fitter, Works Repairing Shops
Doling, J Stoker, Carbonising
Seage, F., Stove Shop, Stove; Meter and Lamp Shops and Stable
Peedle, G., Repairing Shop,  Yard, Chemicals, Coal and Coke   
 
GREENWICH   STATION
(2 representatives).   
Westerland,  S.  Driller , Mechanics, Lightermen   and Labourers   
Simmonds, J., Fireman Carbonising, Coals  and Coke   
 
BANKSlDE STATION.
Beard, W.
 
ORDNANCE WHARF.  
Hall,C.
 
As it seemed to the subcommittee that it would be better for the number of signatures upon a Candidate’s nomination paper to have some relation to the number voting, they recommend as follows:-
 
That where the number of voters:
 
does not exceed 100 - 3 signatures   
where it exceeds 100 and  not 200 -  6 signatures
where it exceeds 200  - 12 signatures
 
 Each nominator still to hold not less than £15 Stock.   They also recommend that each department vote only for its own representative.   
 
This report was adopted, as well as a further proposal that the three Employee Directors should receive invitations to be present at the meetings of the Committee.   
 
After a few remarks regarding the New Rules of the Superannuation Fund, copies of which have been posted up for some time at the various works and depots of the Company, and will soon be issued in book form, the proposed statue to be erected in the vestibule of the Chief Office, Old Kent Road, was mentioned, and a general feeling was expressed that the employees would wish to  subscribe. This desire has since been carried out with very gratifying results.
 
With a reference to the imposing magnitude and fine appearance and bearing of the men at Sir George's funeral the previous Saturday the Chairman declared the proceedings at an end.   
 
ELECTION OF EMPLOYEE DIRECTOR.   
 
In accordance with the scheme Mr. Manley retired by rotation and the usual election took-place, resulting in the return of Mr. W. H. Cupit, of Old Kent Road. Seven Old Kent Road candidates entered the contest, and the grouped stations (Bankside,Greenwich, and Rotherhithe) had two candidates,  the first voting for selection of candidates on October 16 the :results were-
 
Old Kent Road
 
Ashdown, C .98
Cooley, J. J .941
Cupit, W. H . 1725
Froude, C. E    242
Harvey W.  338
Manley, H.T.  1365
Redman J.T.  6
 
Beard, W. C. (Bankside) 541
Brown H. (Rotherhithe) 1885
 
As neither of the candidates at Old Kent Road polled a clear majority of votes, the names of Messrs. Cupit and Manley (the two highest) were again submitted to the vote on October 23, with the following result:-   
 
Cupit, W.H.  2961
Manley, H.T, 1980
 
 
This narrowed the contest to a duel between Messrs. Brown and Cupit, and at the final election on October 30th 9538 votes were polled, viz.:--
 
Brown, H   4407   
Cupit, W. H.  5131
 
Thus returning Mr. Cupit by a majority of 724 votes.   Mr. Cupit has requested us to convey his thanks to the Employee- Shareholders for his election, and we have had the following letter sent to us for publication:-   
 
Fellow Co-Partners,-I thank you all very much indeed for the votes you kindly gave me at the recent election for a Workman Director.-Yours faithfully,