Visited with Mookster on a small short road trip around the midlands back in March. This site was absolutely wrecked throughout and of little interest. An 80s style factory which closed sometime in 2016. But it was still an explore!
James Thomas Engineering was started in a small garage in Bishampton England in 1977. The business grew and moved to a converted office unit, to a much larger 5000 square foot unit in 1980.
This planted the seeds for a new industry leader in aluminium all purpose truss design. By 1983, James Thomas developed a pre-rigged truss design used by major rock bands on world tours.
By 1990, JTE began manufacturing in the USA to keep truss design moving on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Come 1992, the super truss system was designed. The Company was Liquidated in 2017
Climbed with -Raz-
100% the most exhilarating climb we have ever done, with the cages on the ladders only going half way around the back of you to allow for the holder to rise up and then back down again, it really hit home the importance of keeping a tight hold considering the consequences...
Bit of History/Background;
Northern Gas Networks own the structure. It is the townâ€™s one remaining gas holder and is maintained to ensure gas supplies never run short.
The 127ft giant stores gas and helps meet the enormous peaks in demand that occur in winter.
A spokesman said: â€œIn winter there can be as much as five times the amount of gas flowing through the mains than in summer. When everyone wakes up in the morning or gets home from school or work, demand can be so high that we need to have some extra gas stored in case we need it.
â€œThatâ€™s where the gas holders are so important. We fill them up overnight, when thereâ€™s gas to spare, and they empty during the day when demand is higher.â€
The holder was originally built in 1916 by W C Holmes and then rebuilt by Clayton & Co in 1968.
It is column guided and holds nearly five million cubic feet of gas (or 127,000 cubic metres).
There were originally five gas holders at Huddersfield, which have been demolished over the years as more gas becomes stored in underground pipelines.
Gas production ceased in the town in the late 1960s.
And here is a news report of 3 guys climbing it back in 2013; http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/huddersfield-gas-climb-stunt-condemned-6152832
After a day of fails and alarms we were more determined than ever to get on and do something and having seen this on previous visits to the area we decided to mish over for a look. The surrounding area is pretty much derp city however the Kirklees Council appear to be very handy with that horrible metal sheeting which is nigh on impossible to get around without the help of an angle grinder, or perhaps a teleport.
Upon reaching the Gas Holder we quickly established that this giant was not in her prime condition, and as the frame cracked and creaked around us, we began our ascent. What followed was the most terrifying and yet enjoyable climb of my life. The views of Huddersfield in the twilight were pretty cool, not anything spectacular but nice and chiller for a sunday night.
I would like to call this particular image "Oh Fuck This Is High, Why Am I Doing This"
Thanks for looking
Arriving in the centre of Belval in Luxembourg, one can not help but look up at the huge blast furnaces which dominate the skyline. Ultra-modern high-rises and new-builds butted up against these giants are dwarfed. Looking at the building site at the base, we glance at each other.... "We NEED to go up there!" we agree.
The Blast Furnaces - Image stolen from Google.
We park up the car, check in at the Ibis, then head to some Buffalo place for a good helping of meat and a few beers while it got dark. Following a brief squabble about the size of the tip we head back outside and behold the monstrous marvels illuminated in the night sky and head straight for them!
The steel works has long closed, but the Belval Blast Furnaces have not only been retained, but have been fully restored, coated with pretty paint and made into a visitor attraction. The new buildings at the base, presumably a visitor centre, were nearing completion and the towers will soon be open to the public.
Mid-restoration as seen on Google Streetview:
Being explorers, we weren't prepared to wait for the towers to open, or to pay for a guided tour during the day! We venture into the building site to check out the bottom of the furnace towers and discover the only way up is through the new buildings. Luckily we soon find our way to the roof where the 80 metre twisting and winding staircase begins. Being careful to stay out of the lights that illuminate the structure we make our way to the top.
This unplanned adventure with with Proj3ct M4yh3m turned out to be a highlight of the trip. I'd opted to take my 24-105mm lens, whereas Mr Mayhem went for the 16-35mm wide angle. I kind of regretted not taking my wide angle, but should make for an interesting variation in shots. The lights in the old industrial structure provided some fantastic opportunities for shots and the view over the other blast furnace was amazing.