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© Mr Geoff Dowling ARPS

IoE Number: 410202
Location: FORMER GAS RETORT HOUSE, RETORT HOUSE EXTENSION TO SOUTH WEST AND ATTACHED STORE, 39 BERKLEY STREET (north east side)
  BIRMINGHAM, BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS
Photographer: Mr Geoff Dowling ARPS
Date Photographed: 24 June 2001
Date listed: 30 June 1993
Date of last amendment: 21 January 1994
Grade II*

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

In the entry for; BIRMINGHAM GAS STREET SP 0686 NW (south west side) 32/10036 Number 39 Former Gas Retort House II* (star) the entry shall be amended to read; SP 0686 NW BIRMINGHAM GAS STREET (south west side) 32/10036 Number 39 30.6.93 Former Gas Retort House, retort house extension to south-west and attached store II* (star) Former gas retort house, retort house extension and attached store, now workshops, empty at the time of the inspection. 1822, for the Birmingham Gas Light and Coke Company, retort house extension with attached store 1828. Part of one of the earliest provincial gas works. Altered late C19 and in C20. Red brick beneath a corrugated iron roof covering, carved on a roof structure of cast iron roof trusses, linked by transverse and longtitudinal wrought iron tie rods. L-shaped plan now much modified internally, with narrow frontage to Gas Street. North-east elevation; rendered and painted facade, with blind recess to north-west beneath elliptical arch, and tall double doorway to south-east with flat head. Shallow parapet above moulded cornice band conceals roof hip. Side walls substantially artexed, south west sidewall originally substantially an open arcade, supported by slender cast iron columns, three of which survive, incorporated in later back infilling, which contains blocked semi- circular headed arches. North west side wall with three blocked doorways and a semi-circular headed window north west end of cross range with C20 openings. Interior main range of 11 structural bays and a five bay cross range extending north westwards. 2 piece cast-iron trusses, bolted together to form a 35 foot span the outer ends supported on flat cast-iron plates set within the brick walling or mounted on the tops of the cast-iron columns. Diagonal lattice work web links inclined upper members to segmentally arched soffit. The trusses are linked longtitudinally by a cruciform section central purlin bolted to the central lap joints of the trusses. Modified truss castings are used for the hipped ends, and, at the junction of the two ranges, a large diagonal truss spans the diagonal angle. Horizontal wrought-iron tensioned tie rods link truss feet. Inclined upper face of trusses notched or toothed to accept metal roof lathes which were wedged in position, and to which the original roofing slates were attached. Extension to retort house at south-west end of 5 bays with 4 cast-iron trusses of slightly modified design, mounted on cast-iron wall plates. To the north side of the extension was added a 5-bay single storeyed building, thought to have been a coal store. The roof is carried on 4 stutted queen-post trusses supported on brick sidewall piers The queen posts extended above the line of the original roof covering and appear to have carried a louvre. History: The former Gas Street gas works was established in 1818, the retort house being the only survivor of the complex for which the consultant engineer was Samuel Cleg (1781-1861), the first specialist gas engineer. The innovative metal roof structure is now a rare example of the early advances in metal roof design made in the early C19. This example is a combination of wrought and cast-iron constructional techniques, designed to prevent the internal thrust of the trusses being transmitted to the side walls, an important factor on the design of a roof which had to withstand the high temperatures generated in the gas making process. The components for the roof structure are thought to have been produced in the Phoenix Foundry, Snowhill, Birmingham. Empty at the time of inspection. Former Gas Works, Gas Street, Birmingham. RCHM 1993. ------------------------------------ The following building shall be added to the list; BIRMINGHAM GAS STREET SP 0686 NW (south west side) 32/10036 Numbers 39, Former Gas Retort House II* (star) Former gas retort house, now workshop, 1822, for the Birmingham Gas Light and Coke Company and part of one of the earliest provincial gas works. Altered late C19 and in C20. Red brick beneath a corrugated iron roof covering, carved on a roof structure of cast iron roof, trusses, linked by transverse and longtidudinal wrought iron tie rods. L shaped plan now much modified internally, with narrow frontage to Gas Street. North-east elevation; rendered and painted facade, with blind recess to north-west beneath elliptical arch, and tall double doorway to south-east with flat head. Shallow parapet above moulded cornice band conceals roof hip. Side walls substantially artexed, south west sidewall originally substantially an open arcade, supported by slender cast iron columns, three of which survive, incorporated in later brick infilling, which contains blocked semi-circular headed arches. North west side wall with three blocked doorways and a semi- circular headed window north west end of cross range with C20 openings. Interior main range of 11 structural bays and a five bay cross range extending north-westwards. 2 piece cast-iron trusses, bolted together to form a 35 foot span the outer ends supported on flat cast iron plates set within the brick walling or mounted on the tops of the cast iron columns. Diagonal lattice work web links inclined upper members to segmentally arched soffit. The trusses are linked longitudinally by a cruciform section central purlin bolted to the central lap joints of the trusses. Modified truss castings are used for the hipped ends, and, at the junction of the two ranges, a large diagonal truss spans the diagonal angle. Horizontal wrought iron tensioned tie rods link truss feet. Inclined upper face of trusses notched or toothed to accept metal roof lathes which were wedged in position, and to which the original roofing slates were attached. History: The former Gas Street gas works was established in 1818, the retort house being the only survivor of the complex for which the consultant engineer was Samuel Clegg (1781-1861), the first specialist gas engineer. The innovative metal roof structure is a now rare example of the early advances in metal roof design made in the early C19. This example is a combination of wrought and cast iron constructional techniques, designed to prevent the internal thrust of the trusses being transmitted to the side walls, an important factor on the design of a roof which had to withstand the high temperatures generated in the gas making process. The components for the roof structure are thought to have been produced in the Phoenix Foundry, Snowhill, Birmingham. Empty at the time of inspection. Former Gas Works, Gas Street, Birmingham. RCHM 1993.

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