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HER Number:MDV44717
Name:Hollicombe Gas Works, Paignton

Summary

The gas works was built in the early 1860s and by the earlier 20th century had expanded considerably. The works are visible as a complex of structures on aerial photographs taken in 1946, although camouflaging to protect against air attack obscured the detail. Production ceased in 1968 and much of the plant was demolished soon after. The eastern part was landscaped as a recreation ground which opened in 1979. North-west of the road very few of the Second World War buildings survived in 1999; the remaining gasometer was removed by 2006.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 897 623
Map Sheet:SX86SE
Admin AreaTorbay
Civil ParishTorbay
DistrictTorbay
Ecclesiastical ParishCOCKINGTON
Ecclesiastical ParishPAIGNTON

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1359320
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX86SE/86
  • Torbay HER: MTO44717

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GAS WORKS (Built, XIX - 1860 AD to 1869 AD (Between))
  • BARRAGE BALLOON GAS DEPOT (World War II - 1939 AD to 1945 AD (Between))
  • PUBLIC PARK (Opened, XX - 1979 AD to 1979 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Torquay Gas Works marked. Located alongside the railway to the north of Little Hollicombe. A gasometer is marked


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Torquay Gas Works marked. Comparison with the first edition Ordnance Survey map shows the works to have expanded considerably with additional buildings and gasometers.


Ordnance Survey, 1930 - 1939, Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV336668.

The 1930s Ordnance Survey map shows an additional large gasometer to the north-east of the original works in a separate area on the other side of the road.


Royal Air Force, 1941, RAF/140/S437/H3, NMR SX8962/9 MSO 31287/PO-052 24-AUG-1941 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352691.

Some of the gas works buildings are visible, and some are camouflaged, but the laser copy is poor quality so details are difficult to distinguish.


Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223, RAF/3G/TUD/UK223 5097-5098 12-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352279.

Several rectangular and circular structures are visible within the northern part of the complex that were not depicted on the 1930s mapping.


Royal Air Force, 1946 - 1949, Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV342938.

Gas works visible on both sides of the road.


RAF, 1949, RAF/58/209 Vp2, RAF/58/209 5063-5064 15-APR-1949 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352287.

The gas works have expanded since 1946, and additional buildings and structures are visible.


Royal Air Force, 1958, RAF/58/2549, NMR SX8962/4 RAF 30137/PSFO-P2-0115 27-AUG-1958 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351446.

One of the buildings visible still has a camouflaged roof.


Barham, F., 1979, Torbay Transport, 80 (Monograph). SDV362118.

Photograph of the works about 1913 showing tram double tracks.


Anon, 1989-90, Unknown, 208 (Article in Serial). SDV362478.

The Torquay Gas works were built at Hollicombe in the early 1860s and became by 1936 the Torquay and Paignton Gas Company. A plan of the Torbay and Paignton Gas Company Hollicombe Works is held by the Torquay Natural History Society.


Taylor, L., 1995, Torbay and Paignton Gas Company: Hollacombe Works (Plan - measured). SDV362117.

The gas works at Hollacombe were used as a store for barrage balloon gas during the Second World War. This was a pre-war plan put into practice. Supplies were sent from here to much of the west and south-west of England.


Pike, J. (ed.), 1997, The Archive Photograph Series - Paignton, 92; Chapter 10, 1 (Monograph). SDV362111.

Photo of 1936 indicates the changes made since 1913 had been minimal; that of 1947 shows the gas works at peak production soon after the war. Coal was probably still arriving from South Wales and Yorkshire, although it was also landed at Kingswear and taken the short journey from there by rail. Production ceased in 1968 and the plant demolished soon after in February 1969, at least to ground level. North Sea Gas arrived in Torbay in 1973.


Next Perspectives, 1999, Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8962 25-JUN-1999 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352113.

The gas tower north of the road is extant.


Channel Coast Observatory, 2001-2012, Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography, Channel Coastal Observatory SX8962_20120918ortho.ecw 18-SEP-2012 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351226.

The walls of the building at SX8975162309 are no longer visible in 2012.


Foot, W., 2005, Defence Areas. A National Study of Second World War Anti-Invasion Landscapes in England, Figs 2-4 (Report - Survey). SDV360266.

Paignton was designated as a defended locality during the Second World War. The gas works was a vulnerable point and the gas holders and other buildings were camouflaged against attack. Hollicombe Park opened on the site of the gas works in 1979. One of the gas holders is still standing on the far side of the road.


Next Perspectives, 2006, Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photograph, Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8962 03-JUN-2006 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351300.

The gas tower north of the road is no longer visible, although the surviving walls of the structure at SX8975162309 are visible.


Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R., 2013-2014, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project (Interpretation). SDV351146.

Hollicombe gas works are mapped on 1930s Ordnance Survey maps, and only the additional buildings and structures visible on the 1946 aerial photographs have been transcribed. Details of the gas works site are difficult to see on the wartime aerial photographs, and although the available images are poor quality laser copies it is also likely that camouflaging was effective in obscuring this site from the air. On post-war aerial photographs the roofs of the gas towers and some of the buildings are visible painted with traditional camouflage patterning, and this remained in place on some buildings until at least 1958.
The eastern part of the site had been landscaped as a recreation ground by 1986, when the walls of one building survived at circa SX8975162309. This structure was also removed between 2006 and 2012, reducing the industrial character of the site, although the bases of the gas towers are still discernible. North and west of the road very few of the buildings visible in the Second World War aerial photographs survived in 1999, and the gas tower appears to have been removed between 1999 and 2006.


Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

The park with the pathways around the sites of the former gasometers is clearly visible. The part of the gas works on the north side of the road looks to be rather derelict. The site of the last remaining gasometer is visible as a large brown area surrounded by scrub and trees.


Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

The area of the gas works between the road and the railway is now Hollicombe Park; the sites of the gasometers are laid out as circular paths.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336668Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1930 - 1939. Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV342938Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 - 1949. Royal Air Force Aerial Photographs. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #121771 ]
SDV351146Interpretation: Hegarty, C. + Knight, S. + Sims, R.. 2013-2014. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme Project. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV351226Aerial Photograph: Channel Coast Observatory. 2001-2012. Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography. Channel Coast Observatory. Digital. Channel Coastal Observatory SX8962_20120918ortho.ecw 18-SEP-2012.
SDV351300Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 2006. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photograph. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8962 03-JUN-2006.
SDV351446Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1958. RAF/58/2549. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR SX8962/4 RAF 30137/PSFO-P2-0115 27-AUG-1958.
SDV352113Aerial Photograph: Next Perspectives. 1999. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Pan Government Agreement Aerial Photographs. Digital. Next Perspectives PGA Imagery SX8962 25-JUN-1999.
SDV352279Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/3G/TUD/UK223 5097-5098 12-JUL-1946.
SDV352287Aerial Photograph: RAF. 1949. RAF/58/209 Vp2. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Print. RAF/58/209 5063-5064 15-APR-1949.
SDV352691Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1941. RAF/140/S437/H3. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR SX8962/9 MSO 31287/PO-052 24-AUG-1941.
SDV360266Report - Survey: Foot, W.. 2005. Defence Areas. A National Study of Second World War Anti-Invasion Landscapes in England. Council for British Archaeology/English Heritage. Digital. Figs 2-4.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital).
SDV362111Monograph: Pike, J. (ed.). 1997. The Archive Photograph Series - Paignton. The Archive Photograph Series - Paignton. Paignton. Photocopy. 92; Chapter 10, 1.
SDV362117Plan - measured: Taylor, L.. 1995. Torbay and Paignton Gas Company: Hollacombe Works. Unknown.
SDV362118Monograph: Barham, F.. 1979. Torbay Transport. . 80.
SDV362478Article in Serial: Anon. 1989-90. Unknown. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 20.4. Hardcopy. 208.
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV126359Related to: Hollicombe Beach Defence Area, Torbay (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6127 - Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey National Mapping Programme (NMP) for South-West England - South Coast Devon (Ref: ACD618)

Date Last Edited:Sep 13 2019 12:10PM