The Giant’s Fireguard

gasometer1_0007aGreat Yarmouth is full of relics, and that’s before we’ve even come to my parents. Thank goodness, too, for these sights bring a touch of inspiration and character that’s very much needed.

Perhaps nowhere calls for it more than the dockland of the South Denes; once host to a thriving holiday park, the resort now gives way to a joyless maze of warehouses and oil tanks until, somewhere amid the heightening grime, Nelson’s Monument pops up – Britannia standing proudly out of sync.

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Perhaps, then, this nineteenth century gasometer frame is a fitting reminder of the town’s legacy in energy, harking back to when the town was a burgeoning powerhouse. The fluctuating drum would have stored a tremendous amount of coal gas ready for distribution – the masses connected.

A toxic monster of its day, but in retirement it possesses a period ornateness that has it sticking out as prominently as the Monument. The most charming thing of the structure is surely the elaborate finials; a stepped-out spire beneath flowing volutes. I thought this might make for an interesting construction. I was wrong, but still am glad to have completed it. It’s something that’s been in my eye-line forever, and, as it’s a listed structure, I presume it’ll be there for a while yet. It could do with a lick of paint, mind you!

Not having a clue of its application and just seeing an empty, looming frame, I used to call it a giant’s fireguard. Hmm. Still, I think that’s probably more romantic than the reality!

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21 comments
      • They are indeed! They knew how to make utilitarian impressive.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. z03luca said:

    It’s very interesting and beautiful. I never saw something similar…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Camilla. There are still quite a few standing and being preserved here, but I expect more were obsoleted and taken down with the shift toward natural gas in the 60s and 70s. Incidentally, I was just reading an article which mentioned that most European examples were swiftly dismantled. Perhaps we Brits are more sentimental, and became attached to them over time!

      Liked by 1 person

      • z03luca said:

        Jacob you are right and all what you wrote is true. I was in Bratislava in September last year. It’s city, where I was born. I was in shock. Historic part of city around Bratislava’s castle is gone. All history don’t exist. New high black buildings are scary. Synagogue is gone, old part around castle is gone. We planed to stay here 2-3 weeks , but after 3 days we left to Switzerland. I felt like when you lose a home. ❤ Camilla

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Oh, I can imagine. That’s so sad. It seems crazy to rid future generations of such a historical area.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, awesome Jabob, what a glorious rendering of such a spectacular structure, I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Spectacular it is! Cheers, Phil – glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There are many strange things in Great Yarmouth, such as the takeaway where you can buy pizza and chips… this is great though, Jacob. Amazing to see elaborate old industrial structures in today’s world of cleaner lines and lack of ornamentation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Ha, don’t I know it. 😉 Thanks, Michael, and definitely agree – it’s always quite a sight having the old and new side by side, and certainly something worth holding onto I think.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Quite – I read yesterday that this one was up for demolition a couple of years ago, but people moved to spare it. Thank goodness!

      Like

  4. Your line about your parents got me giggling! 😀 You have an amazing eye for architecture; I always think they are actual photos when I see your art!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Haha! Thanks so much, Teresa – I’m always excited by the way the natural sky lighting lifts my models. Much as I’m at loggerheads with the software most of the time, I really do owe it quite a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Frip said:

    Magnificent, it is amazing what we become nostalgic for-but, of all the beautiful things to see in a town or city, few equal the wonderful sight of an empty gasometer, particularly Victorian ones. I don’t know what it is about them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Hello Frip – thank you for dropping by! You’re right in that the level of emotional attachment we have to these kinds of objects can sometimes seem unconventional. But that’s great. It shows what familiarity can do to the eye and heart. Similiarly, there was a ginormous oil power station just to the south of this which enjoyed that affection – many were sad to see it removed from the skyline.

      Like

  6. Good name for it! And yes, even though it must’ve been environmentally shitty, it sure is an aesthetically beautiful structure…..kinda looks like a giant crown! again, i’m hard pressed to discern which are actual photos and which are digital renderings ( which is good!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thank you! It’s certainly a striking part of the landscape. Yes, I’ve since thought it looks like a crown too! Perhaps that was the idea?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maybe it WAS a giant crown, and the history books are lyin’. That giant must’ve been huuuge!

        Liked by 1 person

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