Hornsey Gas holder No 1, London – 1892, oldest surviving example of Cutler’s Patent Guide Framing, Aberdeen Gasometer

Our article about the origins of the Aberdeen Gasometer led us to discover that it was originally constructed by Samuel Cutler & Sons of Millwall, London and Telford, UK.

This in turn provided both Stephen Davies and IDJ  with the opportunity to link this particular gasometer design to Cutler’s Patent Guide Framing which was patented in 1888. Very familiar to any UK city dwellers growing up in post-WW2.

Stephen and IDJ also thought it would of general interest to read a history of gasholders in the UK and in particular information about Gas holder No 1 at Hornsey Gasworks, constructed in 1892, and the oldest surviving example of ‘Cutler’s Patent Guide Framing’.

The Aberdeen Gasometer

“The truth is Gas holder No 1 at Hornsey Gasworks is a remarkable, innovative and historic architectural structure and it is astonishing that it has remained neglected and unsung for so long.

It was constructed in 1892 and is the oldest surviving example of ‘Cutler’s Patent Guide Framing’, which enables a structure using a lattice of vertical guides and helical girders to provide the necessary rigidity with a relatively lightweight and strikingly elegant appearance.

Samuel Cutler & Sons of Millwall patented this helical shell concept in 1888. This is not to be confused with conventional rectangular frames with cross-bracing – it is a truly geodesic cylinder. It was thirty years in advance of Barnes Wallis coining the term ‘geodesic’ for these lightweight structures for airships and aircraft and fifty years ahead of Buckminster Fuller’s trendy geodesic domes.”(1)

Hornsey Gas Holder No.1 Pinterest

Gas holder No 1 at Hornsey Gasworks Courtesy: pinterest

This article was first posted on 15th June 2017.


  1. Industrial Archaeology News 172 Spring 2015: Gas holders – the end of an era, “At the end of this winter, the last two gas holders in mainland Britain’s gas network will be decommissioned, leaving just a handful in use on Scottish islands and at steel works. Until now, gas holders have been an essential part of the gas industry, since its inception in the early nineteenth century, and in September 2014 the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers held a conference to mark this historic moment. Two AIA members who attended that event reflect on the passing of these very visible symbols of Britain’s industrial past.”

See: GasholdersLondon website -thanks to IDJ for sending this link.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. Samuel Cutler & Sons – Millwall, London and Telford, UK – maker of the Aberdeen gasometer
  2. Town Gas gasometer, Aberdeen – made and erected in 1981 through the collaboration of HUD and S Cutler & Sons, Telford, UK

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