Ben Pedroche rediscovers London’s disappearing rusty old gasworks

PUBLISHED: 22:05 30 May 2013 | UPDATED: 14:31 31 May 2013

London's biggest gasworks at Bromley-By-Bow, disused but now listed and preserved

London's biggest gasworks at Bromley-By-Bow, disused but now listed and preserved

Ben Pedroche, author

Ben Pedroche has a thing about rusty old gasworks and spent days going round taking snapshots of them.

Haggerston gasworks, by Regent's canal, often called Bethnal Green gasworksHaggerston gasworks, by Regent's canal, often called Bethnal Green gasworks

It’s all part of his obsession with London’s disappearing industrial past—disused gasworks, derelict power stations and even ‘ghost’ stations on the Underground.

He has been touring the East End recently, recording industrial scenes on camera before they finally vanish, like the impressive Bromley-by-Bow gasworks, even though it’s listed and preserved.

Now the 32-year-old website marketing specialist has written a book listing all those he has come across.

“There’s something about old gasworks,” he admits. “I’m fascinated by all things lost, hidden or abandoned works from the past.

“Lying under and around us rest the relics of a forgotten history—London’s original ‘engine’ of power stations and gasworks which has been lost from sight as the industrial age is swept aside by modern, digital technology.”

His fascination for the past began soon after arriving in London from his native Nottinghamshire, when he first learned about a warren of disused Underground stations and set about recording them for his first book last year.

These included the little-known St Mary’s station in the Whitechapel Road, on the District and Hammersmith & City lines, which was destroyed in the London Blitz and was turned later into a public air-raid shelter—but never reopened.

He also listed more-famous ‘ghost’ stations like Aldwych and Brompton, both on the Piccadilly, British Museum on the Central, City Road and North End ‘Bull & Bush’ on the Northern.

Now he has turned his attention to abandoned gasworks including Bromley-by-Bow, Poplar, Haggerston, Stepney and Beckton, as well as old power stations at Wapping, Limehouse, Shoreditch, Hackney and the more-famous Battersea.

‘London’s Lost Power Stations & Gasworks,’ by Ben Pedroche, published by History Press at £14.99 paperback.

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