wirral forums

Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street

Posted By: Reno37

Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 25th Nov 2013 12:37pm

Hi! All. Need your invaluable help again please. Has anyone got any photos of Hind Street and the Gas Works offices and Thomas Street please. My aunt lived in the first house on Thomas Street on the corner of Hind Steet facing the Gas Works Gates and I spent many a happy weekend there but cannot remember the house number.Walked down there last Sunday sadly it sure has changed,to much Industrial Estate, not enough community. Great to see the old railway bridge still there and Blackpool St and Waterloo Place, shocked to see the retail estate etc dominating the area. But does anyone know how I can get details of persons living in Thomas Street and Hind Street please. Thanks Reno
Posted By: bert1

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 25th Nov 2013 1:44pm

The Electoral register will be available, perhaps at Wirral Archives or Birkenhead Library. Phone first to check the years you are interested in.
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 25th Nov 2013 10:20pm

These two pictures of Thomas Street were published on a Wikiwirral thread some time ago, but I can't find it. I think they were taken when the area was being demolished in the late 1960s. I'm sure someone will be able to find the thread.

Attached picture 4-32_Thomas_St.jpg
Attached picture 34-52_Thomas_St.jpg
Posted By: Reno37

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 9:52am

YOLLER Thank you so much for the photos, looking at the second photo I can identify the gas holder on Hind Street and the Gas Works, clearly visible from my aunts house on the corner of Thomas Street with its whitewashed back yard which looks like either number 32 or 34. I spent many a great time here with my cousins and the super people who lived there exploring the area,the Haymarket, and old Grange Road on a good day. But it was taboo to stand on a newly pummy stoned white step when calling for freinds. I wonder how many people remember the shop at the top of Thomas Street tucked on the end of the Victorian Terrances on the opposite side of Borough Road We bought many sweets here. The gentle guy who owned it also repaired childrens dolls, and the shop was known to all as 'The Dolls Hospital' . Great photos, many memories, many thanks.Reno
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 10:43am

Reno,

I certainly remember the doll's hospital opposite Thomas Street on the corner of the Haymarket. It also sold sweets, papers and magazines.

Next door there was a Marriott's store, selling tools and hardware - Marriott's also had a bigger place in Exmouth Street.

At the top of Thomas Street was a pub, and opposite was an entrance to the Shaftesbury Boys Club. Alongside that was a shop call The Moat, which sold sanitaryware, tiles and bathroom fittings (although none of us had bathrooms - so presumably it must have catered for posh people from outside our area!)

Further along, towards the top of Jackson Street, were the Army recruiting office, Bentley's the pawnshop and Clifton Cycles, where as kids we'd spend ages gazing through the window at the shiny, totally unaffordable bikes with amazing accessories such as Sturmey-Archer three-speed gears.

At certain times of year, the road under the railway bridge at Blackpool Street / Waterloo Place, would flood quite deeply. This area was originally Tranmere Pool, an inlet of the Mersey and the lowest geographical point in Birkenhead.

The Rubicon, the stream that once flowed into the Pool along the present site of Borough Road, had been culverted many years earlier. But in times of heavy rain, the old watercourse would rise and cause flooding.

Cars could still get through - Waterloo Place led on to Chester Street in those days - but the road under the bridge became impassable to pedestrians.

However, the flooded bridge was a bonus for some of the local kids. They'd put on their cossies and go for a swim, washed by the bow waves caused by cars. Welcome to Birkenhead's first waterpark!
Posted By: Reno37

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 11:41am

Yoller you know and remember so much more than I do about this super area, its a pleasure to meet you even on line. I also seem to remember when my cousin Neil and I went walking up Hind Street we used to call for a couple of his school mates who lived in the houses which faced the Gas Board Offices, the houses now gone and replaced by industrial buildings with broken windows. As kids we never busted windows, it was more than our lifes worth to do so if mum /dad found out. When we got to the top of Hind Street with Central Station on our left I seem to remember to our right looking towards the Haymarket, between Hind Street and Thomas Street on the same side of the road. There was a large shop that sold weighting equipment shop scales etc,but can never think of its name, nor the name of the pub in Thomas Street were my uncle drank.I remember Bently's Pawn Shops they sold great used blue boiler suits at 5 shilling and 6 pence, bought for my dad and uncle who worked at Lairds. My nan used to get coke ( coal by-product ) from the gas works in her old four wheeled baby pram, the domestic barrow of the 50's & 60's, and I certainly remember paddling in the water, as you say in our cozzies under the Waterloo Place Railway Bridge. What great days, the likes of which are to us gone forever. Thanks Yoller for the memories. Best Wishes. Reno
Posted By: derekdwc

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 12:38pm

1950s map
ctrl key and + key to enlarge
ctrl key and - key to make smaller

Attached picture Hind Street.jpg
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 12:53pm

Thanks, Reno. I too remember as kids my brother and me trundling down to the gasworks with an old pram and getting it loaded up with a hundredweight sack of coke.

The coke used to be dispensed down a big tube from a massive hopper, billowing dust and grit. It was operated by a lever and the poor bloke who had to stand there pulling it possibly had the worst job in town.

Once loaded up, you had to haul your coke back home. But it wasn't child labour - it was an adventure and we begged our parents to let us go to the gasworks.

They were tough times, but less complicated and more innocent than childhood for today's youngsters.

By the way, the weighing machine place was called Avery.
Posted By: mikeeb

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 26th Nov 2013 1:38pm

Originally Posted by derekdwc
1950s map
ctrl key and + key to enlarge
ctrl key and - key to make smaller


Or ctrl and mouse wheel whichever you prefer wink
Posted By: billy_anorak59

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 27th Nov 2013 7:22am

Don't know if it helps, but the photos that Yoller posted earlier came from this thread: Clicky
Posted By: ChrisJ

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 27th Nov 2013 10:33pm

Originally Posted by derekdwc
1950s map
ctrl key and + key to enlarge
ctrl key and - key to make smaller

And not forgetting...

ctrl key and 0 key to reset it back to normal 100%


Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:15pm

Looking through my stuff, I just found this copy of an old pen drawing of the gasworks entrance on Hind Street / Blackpool Street, with the bottom of Thomas Street seen on the left. I've no idea who the artist is and I can't even remember where the picture came from. But it's an excellent piece of work.

Attached picture gas.jpg
Posted By: ZipperClub

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:21pm

If thats the gas works, why is there loads of coal, or something piled?. Like you say, good drawing.
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:39pm

Originally Posted by ZipperClub
If thats the gas works, why is there loads of coal, or something piled?. Like you say, good drawing.

Well, coal was the input of the process of producing gas and coke was an end product. I think it's probably coke.
Posted By: ZipperClub

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:48pm

Just found this site, might be Hind Street.

Birkenhead Corporation Gas Works: Coal handling plant Detailed plans of reinforced concrete hopper B/814/13 1940


http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/...;kw=Wirral%20Archives%20Service#22-14-11
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:50pm

It is coke - I remember those big mounds very well. As Chris says, coke is produced from coal.

I'm not sure what the process is - possibly it is steamed - but I think basically they extracted gas from the coal, and the gas was stored in those two big gasometers that used to dominate the area.

The gas was called coal gas, or town gas, and was very poisonous, unlike today's methane gas.

The extraction process left coke, which was a virtually smokeless, very hot-burning solid fuel. I don't know if you can actually buy coke anywhere these days.
Posted By: ZipperClub

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 9:59pm

When I was about 4, I used to turn on the gas fire in my parents bedroom and sit by the un-lit fire and sniff the gas. I used to love the smell, so Mum told me. No wonder I`m as daft as a brush, my own little gas chamber.
Posted By: ZipperClub

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 10:03pm

With the Wallasey gas tanks, did they just contain gas at the works?. I dont remember anything there except the tanks, no workings.
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 10:48pm

If there were only tanks, the gas must have been produced elsewhere and piped there for storage. A works for producing gas was a big affair; not easily missed.
The production of coal gas is done by heating coal in furnaces with a very limited supply of oxygen. The process is called destructive distillation. The products are coke, gas and coal tar (which was itself a valuable product and was the source of chemicals, dyes etc.)
@yoller; yes, you can still get coke. It's used mainly in forges. These days it's a lot more expensive than coal; I've seen it for sale at 16 for 20Kg.
Posted By: davew3

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 30th Nov 2013 11:41pm

There's a small town gas plant turned into a museum up in Scotland somewhere , they actually used brushes in a sealed environment to brush the coal gas before delivery to the town supply, the coke was used in the retorts which was burned to turn more coal into coal gas and coke and all the other nasties that came from heating coal.
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 12:49am

Chris, it's interesting to hear you tell that coke is now dearer than coal, because I seem to remember in my childhood days it was seen as a sort of poor man's coal.

A sackful, which we'd load on to our old pram, used to hold a hundredweight - about 45 kilos in today's money. I can't remember exactly how much it cost, but I'm sure it wasn't more than a couple of shillings in the mid to late 1950s.

The coke produced at the Birkenhead gasworks presumably wasn't intended primarily for domestic use and I don't think coke was delivered to homes by coal merchants (I may be wrong).

But, living near the gasworks, we were able to easily obtain it and I remember my Dad saying it was better than coal - cleaner-burning and hotter. Mind you, I'm glad those coal-burning days are over, because the town was a dirty, smoky old place back then.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 9:22am

Quite right davew3. The Gas Works Museum is in Biggar in the Borders.

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/biggar/biggargasworks/

I've been a few times. Really interesting. Best thing of all is THAT SMELL. Not of coal/town gas so much, as that of all the various by-products, phenols, tars etc. Nasty stuff I'm sure, but it smells great !! It's Hind Street on a much smaller scale. They get some of the plant "in steam" a few times a year. Always remember the "cocky watchmen" in their little huts at roadworks sites etc. sitting behind an open brazier of glowing coke. Health and what ????
Posted By: BandyCoot

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 1:34pm

The coke was cheaper because it was a biproduct of the gas productions process. Remember piles of coal as well in these place and the coal wagons used to fill up there with coal too. Remember as a 4 year old the winter of '47 (it was a barsteward and I can remember the cold) and onwards being dragged along with the pram to queue up and get coke at Wallasey and Hind Street. Wallasey if there was none available at Hind Street. The word used to go around as to where the supplies were. Used to grub for cinders at Livingstone Street baths too, the yard at the back, so Livvie must've been coal fired.
oldman
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 2:03pm

The Biggar gasworks looks interesting, Pinz.
@BandyCoot; yes, the winter of '47 was probably the worst within living memory, even trains were stranded in snowdrifts; the country nearly ground to a halt. Even now, 66 years later, if we had a winter like that, even with our modern technology we'd still be in the same trouble.
@yoller; yes, coke was cheap because, apart from being used to fire the retorts, it was a waste product. Because there's still a small demand for it, it has to be made specially.
I don't know if it was ever delivered by coal merchants: anyone know?
Posted By: YinYang

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 7:47pm

Originally Posted by yoller
I've no idea who the artist is and I can't even remember where the picture came from. But it's an excellent piece of work.




The drawing is signed and appears to say Don (or Den?) Jones.
Posted By: yoller

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 1st Dec 2013 8:22pm

Originally Posted by YinYang
Originally Posted by yoller
I've no idea who the artist is and I can't even remember where the picture came from. But it's an excellent piece of work.




The drawing is signed and appears to say Don (or Den?) Jones.


Thanks for that - I never noticed the signature. It looks like Don Jones. Does anyone know anything about him?
Posted By: bigpete

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 12th Feb 2014 6:47am

Originally Posted by ZipperClub
With the Wallasey gas tanks, did they just contain gas at the works?. I dont remember anything there except the tanks, no workings.


The boilerhouse and rail-connected coal supply were situated on the Dock Road side of Wallasey Gasworks. The buildings were demolished about 7 years ago.
Posted By: bigpete

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 23rd Feb 2014 4:31am

Originally Posted by bigpete
Originally Posted by ZipperClub
With the Wallasey gas tanks, did they just contain gas at the works?. I dont remember anything there except the tanks, no workings.

The boilerhouse and rail-connected coal supply were situated on the Dock Road side of Wallasey Gasworks. The buildings were demolished about 7 years ago.


Sorry Zipper I was talking Carp blush - (not for the 1st time and won't be the last !) - Wallasey Gasworks had no rail access from the Dock Road - but extensive access from the Slopes Branch that ran where the tunnel approach is now, have a look here:
www.britainfromabove.org.uk/image/epw009282?search=wirral&ref=242
in the bottom RH corner - (use the zoom function if you are a member) most of the buildings to the left of the gasometers are to do with the production of gas - boiler houses, retort house and fuel handling buildings - where the fuel could be dried if required.

Its building did stretch to the Dock Road and latterly all access was from this end.
Posted By: petethebike

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 23rd Feb 2014 1:14pm

When the tunnel approach road was built along the old railway route,the length of the new road adjacent to the gasworks, was built on a piled concrete raft to protect the gasometers from traffic vibrations.
Cheers,
Pete.
Posted By: Nelly

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 6th Aug 2014 9:42am

Hi Reno I don't know if you are still a member but I have just found this site on looking for history of Thomas street I was born in Thomas street number 12 I lived with my Nan Maggie Davies and my brother Derek Davies or. Mogs nickname it was so lovely to read yours and Yollers memories they could have been mine I loved Thomas Street and all the lovely people who lived there and had a goos cry when I saw the pictures and our house was on it my Name was Marggret Hoole as my nans sister adopted me I would love to have a chat to you about Tomo as we called it I remember the dolls hospital or Vins as we called it and the pub at the top was the Borough our teddy and all my uncles drank in there as well and I can still remember the ding song when they came out we could hear it from out bedroom I hope you art still on here and Yollar lovely seeing and hearing a blast from my past I am 75 now good wishes x x x
Posted By: Nelly

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 6th Aug 2014 10:07am

Hi Yoller I have just found this site after looking for history of Thomas Street and saw your wonderful pictures of there I am sure one of them was our house number 12 I was born and bred there and cried for days when they demolished it and again today when I saw your photos they brought back such Happy memories of my childhood and teenage years I noticed Reno has some good memories as well I would love to have a chat to you sometime I lived with my Nan mrs Davies or Maggie and my brother Derek or Mogs who went away to sea for the blue funnel line and our Teddy Davies in number 12 I am 75 now and it was so lovely finding other people who knew Tomo. As we called it would love to have a chat sometime best wishes my Name was Margaret Hoole
Posted By: chriskay

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 6th Aug 2014 10:52am

Welcome to wikiwirral, Nelly, hope you find plenty to interest you here.
Posted By: Nelly

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 7th Aug 2014 9:17pm

Thank you Chriskay I am sure there will be
Posted By: linzs

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 14th Jan 2015 7:56pm

Hi all I'm wondering if anyone remembers my dad from Thomas Street their surname was Cartwright, he lived there with his mum Julia and dad Lenny, he had 5 brothers and one sister. They lived there in the 1960's and stayed for 14yrs. He often tells me stories of Thomas Street and some of the people who lived there so was hoping someone might remember them.
Posted By: Macwac

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 4th Sep 2019 4:16pm

Hi Nelly, my dad remembers your family, I think he worked on the coal with Ted.
I am doing the typing as he is not so good with technology yet... He would be made up to chat about the old days ... Hope you are still using this site
Posted By: diggingdeeper

Re: Hind Street Gas Works area & Thomas Street - 4th Sep 2019 5:24pm

Originally Posted by Macwac
Hi Nelly, my dad remembers your family, I think he worked on the coal with Ted.
I am doing the typing as he is not so good with technology yet... He would be made up to chat about the old days ... Hope you are still using this site


Unfortunately it is over five years ago since Nelly last accessed this forum, but you never know.
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