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Report - - Dorman Long Lackenby, South Bank Coke Oven Tower 3/11/07 | Industrial Sites |

Report - Dorman Long Lackenby, South Bank Coke Oven Tower 3/11/07

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This is more industrial than high stuff, although it was high enough as far as I was concerned. And after my last embarrassing failure to communicate anything meaningful on what the places are that I visit, I’ve researched this a little before posting but I'm still guessing with a lot of it.

The place is a coke oven site. Built in the early fifties as one of the most advanced of its type at the time. It seems that the first half of it, a whole oven battery and tower complex has been disused for quite a while now, though. Just when this oven was closed down and most of the plant taken away I can’t find out, but the tower remains and is a local landmark to anybody that’s ever been in the area.

There is a second oven to the east that is live and producing coke 24/7 and with all the noise, fire, sirens and steam clouds going on, I could watch it for hours.

Here’s the disused tower by day. From the ground floor level there is a large platform that makes for a coal loading bay underneath the tower. Originally, the top of the actual coke oven battery would have been level with the loading bay. Charge cars would have travelled into the bay, get filled with processed coal and the travel out again to drop it into one of the coke oven cells. All the oven battery cells have long since gone.

And here’s the tower by night. In the background is the operational tower feeding the running coke oven on the site. These towers are basically huge coal bunkers that have blended and pulverised coal stacked up in them ready to be loaded into the charge cars.

It must have taken an hour just to get into the place. All the ground floor is securely barricaded with welded 4†steel strip. I suppose that being in the steel making industry allows you to have all the welded steel strip you could ever wish for, but it did make for extremely good monkey bars. So I monkeyed up ‘em and in.

Inside, there's virtually nothing left with regard to machinery or derelict plant. All of it seems to have been completely removed rather than recklessly stripped out for scrap. Makes me think that all the stuff was sold off and set up somewhere else.

The coal charge chutes/nozzles are still there though.

Two Chutes.

Forty Chutes. So there's eighty in the whole thing.

I'd taken many telephoto shots of the rooftop from the ground and looked at the Google images for ages trying to decided what the funny looking jib thing was that was sticking out from the south side of the roof. Turns out it’s a bloody flagpole.

Some poor sod would have had the job of maintaining, hoisting and looking after the thing, and it aint far from the edge, it’s on it.

So, not much more to do than look around, I suppose.

Mid left, South Bank rail station.
Centre right (blue lights on horizon) The Riverside Stadium. Where they have The Soccering, I understand.
Extreme right, moored shipping and coal blending silos – I think.


North West:
The Gas Holder. Coke production drives off volatile gases from the coal and these need to be kept and processed. This thing was struck by lightning in 1971, caught fire and was at risk of exploding. More info and an almost identical photo from the fifties on here: The fifties dude must have stood in the same place. I got a better camera than him though.

The gas plant that processes all the by product gases and combustibles. You can make out the river more easily now and the industrial sites on the north bank.

In the centre, from left to right; Oven chimney and coal tower (operational) and then what I think is a smaller quenching tower for the oven tower that I was standing on.
Cooling towers on the extreme right.

On the operational coal tower, the staircase is on the outside. On ‘my’ one it was on the inside and is all the better for the sneaking.

You won’t see it but there are fireworks captured in this. From that height though they looked like they were barely leaving the ground. All that money up in smoke eh? People should do learn to get their enjoyment from simpler and safer activities, a bit like what I was doing.

West again:
There’s my car! It’s either very small, or very far away.

West again:
In the foreground are some of the huge water tanks at the top of the tower, one each along the whole of the east and west faces. They’re completely full and super mucky. No swimming.

There was never much to photograph on the way down. I did have an adequate flash but didn’t want to attract attention.
But just one thing. I do like the no nonsense safety warnings of days gone by. It comes from a time when things were genuinely dangerous instead of today’s environment of people being scared of their staplers and Tipex bottles.

So, no doing the ‘Hokey Kokey’ with that stuff then.

And hoorah, with cream on top, for DANGER BOARDS. I want one.