Newcastle Gas and Coke

The poor old Gas and Coke building. It sits next to the Clyde Street lights, across the line from the massively vandalised Islington signal box. It must have been something, back in the day, but now the gasworks site is derelict and the main building is slowly slipping back into the ground.

Coke and Coal building

There’s a less fancy building just behind the Gas and Coke building which must’ve been a works admin centre. There have been a series of dossers living in there; there’s still a power cord strung along the ground from the Gas and Coke building to the admin centre, which I assume the dossers use for basic services. The admin centre itself has long ago been trashed.

Washrooms

There are three plaques on the Gas and Coke building that catalogue its rise and fall. The first dates from the building’s original incarnation, back in 1867, while the second dates from “the opening of these new works, March 27, 1913”. The final (and by far the most utilitarian and least attractive) plaque is more recent: “This plaque was unveiled by Lord Mayor of Newcastle Councillor Greg Heys on 3rd November 1995 to mark the completion of the restoration of the Clyde Street Works administration building”.

I seem to remember that Council tried to rent the building out but it never got taken up. It’s such a shame as there’s still quite a bit of the interior in original (1913) condition.

Fireplace

And obviously there’s still power in the building, as the dossers quickly discovered.

There are parts of the original building scattered around the site, such as this beautifully carved “flaming gas” capstone.

Capstone

Internationally renowned stone mason Graham Wilson told me that, during the restoration, the capstones were given a “protective” coating that will in fact cause the sandstone to disintegrate upon itself as soon as moisture gets behind the coating.

They put a chainlink fence around the whole site a year or so back, including around the Gas and Coke building. It all seems so sad. I wonder if Renew Newcastle could get it made into an office for me?

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3 Responses to Newcastle Gas and Coke

  1. Stepford says:

    i found your post while looking for info relating to the site, i love the building and everytime I drive past wish I could find a way to purchase it… dreaming of course, in my search I came across an article from the Herald in 2008 stating that ‘cancer causing contaminants’ were found in the ground but it has been under rehabilitation since 1988. like so many buildings in newcaslte such a shame that more care has not been taken

    • Mark MacLean says:

      Hi Stepford

      Yes, it’s a crime that buildings like this are allowed to go to rack and ruin, especially after so much effort had been put into its restoration.

      The contaminants story’s been around for a while. There was a demonstration remediation of the site. The only thing that stopped it going ahead was lack of political will and state legislation that makes it cheaper to bury our contaminants than deal with them. Let’s just dust it all under the carpet and let our kids deal with it, eh?

      Mark

  2. […] North that I could get my hands on, though, it’s the old Gas & Coke building. I’ve blogged before about the Gas & Coke building, and I’ve had any number of people tell me how they’d love to reinvent it as an […]

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