During the first decade of the 20th Century, the Blantyre Gas Company Ltd came under some criticism for not being able to supply all the Blantyre residents with the gas they so dearly wanted. The problem wasn’t just infrastructure, but also storage capacity, the works unable to hold the amount of gas demanded by residents. Blantyre had changed, grown and the decades old tanks were now unfit for purpose.
In August 1908, work was continuing at the Gas works and surrounding streets to expand the service throughout further areas in Blantyre. The Gas works were once located at Stonefield Road, (on the site where you may remember Letham’s Garage).
The storage capacity being too small, the Directors faced no alternative other than face an expensive, large scheme to increase the capability of the gas works and pipes leading from it. The works manager, Robert Scott, then still a young man was asked to prepare plans, schedules and costings for the scheme, including pursing tenders to carry out the work.
His extensions comprised a new double lift spiral gas holder with a steel tank measuring a whopping 74 feet in diameter. The holder when full stoodt 66 feet from ground level, being slightly wider than it was tall. At 66 feet tall, it was a landmark that was seen for miles around and would dominate the skyline at nearby Dixon’s Rows miners houses.
The capacity of the new tank was 150,000 cubic feet and was built so it could be expanded at a later date if necessary. Also erected was an engine house, engine and exhauster and a washer scrubber coupled directly to a steam engine.
In the previous years, a great demand for gas had arisen in Stonefield (all along Glasgow Road) and Springwell and so the Directors had also arranged a new 8 inch gas main coming from the gas works, down Stonefield Road to its foot, then turning right on to Glasgow Road and at a reduced size of 6 inch cast gas main, all along Stonefield towards Springwell and Auchinraith.
The total cost of the extensions was around £4,000 (about half a million in todays money), with great faith put in the young Robert Scott to carry out and oversee all these works.
Robert Scott continued to work at the gas works for decades after.
The Gas works are pictured on the Blantyre map in 1910.