Site Overview

Introduction

The main site is approximately 33 hectares, and is located within the London Borough of Ealing and borders the London Borough of Hillingdon to the west.

It is triangular in shape and is bound to the west by the Grand Union Canal and Minet Country Park beyond, the Great Western Main Line to the south and Beaconsfield Road and the adjacent residential area to the north.

The site is currently used for car parking, primarily associated with London Heathrow Airport (Purple Parking). New vehicle sales preparation and servicing is also undertaken in the workshops located in the western corner of the site.

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History of the site

The Southall Gasworks was originally constructed by the Brentford Gas Company in 1869 to meet increasing demand of coal gas in the Middlesex area. Coal gas was used as an illuminating gas to light up homes, streets and railway carriages as well as for industrial processes.

Gas works were usually located beside rivers, canals and railways to transport coal. Therefore the location of the Southall Gasworks site next to the Grand Union Canal and the Great Western Railway was ideal.

The gas works were originally established at
the western end of the site and progressively expanded across the entire site. The Water Tower was constructed in 1903 and was in use until the
1960s. It is Grade II listed due to its unusual castle appearance and has been converted into
residential use.

During World War I chemical plants were also constructed on the site to produce oil gas tar, coal tar and crude benzole. The chemical plants closed by 1935 and were replaced by smaller gas works to produce road tar and creosote, which is chiefly used as a preservative for wood.

In the early 1960s coal was replaced as a feedstock by liquid petroleum and the first major oil storage tank was installed. While the site still retains one of the gasholders, the wider gas works associated activity on the site ceased in the 1970’s.

For more information on the history of
the site please visit the National Grid archive here.