Capturing Stories for Windsor Street, Birmingham

Across two days in August 2021, we hosted our Capturing Stories event for Windsor Street in Birmingham.  The aim of this initiative is to supplement National Grid's heritage archives with a digital record of the memories of people who lived near to or worked at the gasworks.

The event was well attended by members of the community. These included:

  • Pete Jones – generations of his family worked at the site and Pete talks about his involvement in how the gasholders ended up being painted in the colours of Aston Villa Football Club
  • Simon Collins – he was involved in the final decommissioning of the gasholders
  • Katie Trow – her grandfather was a chemist at the Windsor Street site from 1913 to 1953

A total of eight people took part in the filming, here are their stories:


David Harper

David started his career in gas as an apprentice at Windsor Street after his family moved to Birmingham. He recalls climbing the gasholders to check the water levels that sealed the gas in the tanks.

Podcast   Video

Katie Trow

Her Grandfather, John Hargreave Gee worked as an analytical chemist at the site from 1913 to 1953.

Podcast   Video



Paul Wallace

Paul started his career in the 1960s and worked around the country. In 1988 he started work in Birmingham, including the Windsor Street site. He organised the champagne opening of the gasholders by the local MP after they were painted  – all didn’t go to plan!

Podcast   Video

Michael McQueen

Michael recalls climbing the stairways of the gasholders and watching them flex as they went up and down. He talks fondly of the people he worked with.

Podcast   Video

Simon Collins

Simon worked on remote telemetry that helped control the gasholders and explains the distinct smell of the Windsor Street gasholders. He liked working with gasholders and recalls turning off the electrics and hearing the gasholders “die”.

Podcast   Video


Sarah Hall

Sarah talks about her early memories of the sights and smells of the area and using the gasholders as a marker that she was 20 minutes away from home after travelling for work.

Podcast   Video

Pete Jones

A life-long Aston Villa fan, Pete talks about his role in the gasholders being painted in the club colours and the generations of his family that worked at the site where he also met his wife.

Podcast   Video

Richard Cutler

He joined British Gas after he left university as a graduate trainee. He worked at Windsor Street, including spending a day and a half reading the gasholder manual as part of his training.

Podcast   Video