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Northern Gas Networks Gas Silo, Bishop Auckland - 88BC

WildBoyz

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History

“The decision has been made to dismantle the Bishop Auckland gas holder as it no longer serves a purpose in maintaining gas supplies to the local area. The ongoing costs of keeping the gas holder in good repair have become economically unviable” (Tim Harwood, Programme Manager). 

The former gas silo in Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland, was erected in 1951, to supply gas to the growing number of residents in the area. The heavy-duty steel container could hold up to three million cubic feet of gas, which is enough to supply approximately three thousand homes with gas for an entire day. Originally, the gas was made from coal at a local gasworks; however, following the discovery of gas in the North Sea many gas holders in the area were quickly made redundant. As gas pipes were upgraded, and new ones laid, most gas silos in and around Bishop Auckland were dismantled. The gas holder at Tindale Crescent remained in situ up until August 2014 as it was used to bolster Northern Gas Network’s supplies during colder winter months. Nevertheless, as a result of advances in technology, which substantially enhanced the capability of modern-day equipment, the gas silo was eventually rendered superfluous.

To keep the demolition operation safe and environmentally friendly, long armed-shears were used to dismantle the old gas silo. All of the other surplus equipment on the site was also removed, including the solidified oily sludge that had settled at the bottom of the gasholder tank. All of the steel-based materials were later recycled. Presently, the land the former gas silo used to stand on remains barren and undeveloped. 

Our Version of Events

After hearing that Bishop Auckland’s old gas silo was due to be demolished, we decided to have a quick wander over there early one morning, before we set off to tackle more challenging things in the afternoon. Access to the silo could have been extraordinarily easy, but for some reason we made it much more difficult than it needed to be. First of all, we decided to wander through a field of feisty ‘gyppo’ horses (the sort that charge at you if you dare to glance in their general direction). After that, we decided to risk losing testicles by climbing two palisade fences. These fences looked particularly pointy too, almost as though some pissed off fence worker had been having a bad day and decided to intentionally sharpened them. 

The solid steel spikes glistened dazzlingly beneath the sun as we precariously edged our way, one testicle at a time, over the top of them. From the top of the fence we had to jump, as another fucker had decided to place a large coil of barbed wire at the very base. It took several excruciatingly tense minutes until we were all safely inside the compound.  

The inside of the fenced off area was mostly covered in gravel, except for a few weeds poking through here and there. Directly in front of us was the gas holder itself, and some smaller pieces of equipment attached to the side of it. The main tank dominated the view in front of us; it was a lot taller than we’d first expected. It was at this point, however, that we noticed the small gate just behind us, and as it turned out it was already open... What this means is that if one of us had actually ended up getting castrated, it would all have been completely unnecessary. The gate was well oiled too, so it opened without so much as a squeak. 

Next, then, after that slight fuck up, most of us chose to climb over the fence guarding the main staircase leading to the top of the silo. Rizla decided not to join us, and instead made use of the large ladder-like rungs on the side of the tank. Needless to say, he managed to get to the top far quicker than the rest of us. It took the rest of the group a while longer to navigate our way over the slightly rusty steel barbs. Once we were all on the staircase it didn’t take long to race to the top and take a few shots though. 

Up on top, there wasn’t much to see. This didn’t surprise us of course; you’d have to be a very imaginative sort of person if you expect to find anything incredibly interesting on top of a gas silo. What did surprise us, however, was that the top of the tank was a lot less stable than you’d think. It was pretty sketchy edging our way of the top to reach the middle, and felt a lot like it was going to give way under our weight. Thankfully it didn’t, and we survived long enough to have a quick climb up one of the ‘ladders to nowhere’. This was quite a strange experience, since the ladder quite literally does just end. It’s a weird feeling standing at the top with nowhere else to go. On the whole, we spent more time on top of the old silo than we’d first planned. The views weren’t too bad after all. But, in the end the smell of gas made us come down. Although the silo seemed empty, after we’d played around with a few rusty dials, valves and industrial taps the smell of gas has become noticeably more pungent. We’re pretty sure the container was mostly empty when we first arrived, but to be safe we decided to leave. One slight spark and we’d all be flying mince, and none of us fancied a departure note of that description on our tombstones. 

Explored with Ford Mayhem, Meek-Kune-Do, Rizla Rider and Subject 47.
 

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Conrad

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I do love a proper write up, nice one. 

 
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