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


  • Pamela White

    I am interested in the firm Samuel Cutler and Sons, Millwall. I haveafamily conbsction.

  • Cedric Riley

    Also interested in the firm Samuel Cutler and Sons as family connection together with any information about the Telford and any photographs of Samuel Cutler, George Benjamin Cutler and Edward Cutler helpful.

    • Pamela White

      Please contact me.
      George Cutler was my great grandfather. Pamela White.

      • Cedric Riley

        Hi – good to hear from you.

        I came across your name and your interest in the Cutlers when I was looking at some interesting articles on the Isle of Dogs blog. Some lovely stuff on there.

        Samuel Cutler is an ancestor of mine, I’ve been developing a picture of the activities of his Company hoping to add to my knowledge of my family. I’m also very interested in industrial history generally – so that blog made fascinating reading. I’ve developed a fascination for gas holders.!
        I’ve got copies a of various family wills so am making some progress with my leg/branch of the Cutler tree.
        My next target is to get a better picture of the company structure. The wills do offer some information on this. There’s reference in various places to the business relocating in Telford, but my research has so far failed to locate exactly where they went to, and what they did when there. Maybe they were taken over and the name was lost?
        I’d also love to have some photographs of the individuals involved. It occurred to me that, as your branch settled in Canada the UK Cutlers may have sent photographs over. Especially as there is particular mention in the will of Samuel (son of Samuel) about the distribution of his photographic equipment.
        Please get back to me if you wish to exchange information etc. I’d be happy to let you have my email address – I’m not sure of the protocol on forums such as this.
        Best wishes

      • Cedric Riley

        Dear Pamela

        I would very much like to be in contact regarding Samuel Cutler & Sons Ltd if you are able to respond?

        Cedric Riley

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