Life as an apprentice at Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks

Whether you were playing snooker, learning to drive, or going to the shooting range, life as an apprentice at Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks was full of excitement. We were lucky enough to meet with two former apprentices of the Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks and hear their stories.

Andrew and Ian joined North Thames Gas as 16 and 17 year old apprentices in the early 1980’s. As they reflect on their 41-year careers in the gas industry, remembering Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks brings up fond memories of community spirit.

Upon joining, they were told it was a ‘job for life’, and in many ways the gasworks become their second home and their colleagues their family. Andrew recalls, “there was so much there for us, a social club, a canteen, sports clubs and even a shooting range, you’d spend so much time there, it was like we were one big family”.

The Gasworks even had its own driving school on site, where both Ian and Andrew learned to drive over rough and bumpy industrial land as you drove in and out of the site past the old retort towers where ‘towns gas’ was once manufactured back in the early days of gas production.

It is clear the Bromley-by-Bow Gasworks played a significant role in the lives of many young apprentices like Ian and Andrew. It shaped their careers in the gas industry, taught them life skills, and most importantly forged friendships to last a lifetime.