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CLG: Gasworks site visit and workshop

21 September 2019
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Event type:
Exhibition, Field Trip, Specialist Group, Workshop
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, 2019 Year of Carbon, Contaminated Land Group
Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History, Norfolk
Event status:

A Year of Carbon Event

In the Geological Society's Year of Carbon, it seems fitting to recall the role of coal and coal processing in driving the Industrial Revolution and setting the scene for the climate change that has marked the Anthropocene so far.

Gasworks were an essential part of the early Industrial Revolution and continued to provide gas to our homes and industry until North Sea gas came on stream. Extracting the methane from coal was a polluting process, and still today we live with the legacy of the gasworks industry.

Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History centres ‎around England's only preserved gasworks. The Contaminated Land Specialist Group of the Geological Society has organised an event with a difference - a tour of the site (in the form of a site walkover) in the company of both museum volunteers and contaminated land practitioners, with time for talks from the specialist speakers as listed below. 

With the chance to see retorts and risers, purifiers and gasometers - all in their original form - this visit is a must for anyone involved in investigating or remediating former gasworks sites.

While we remember, we should also pause and reflect on the consequences of the carbon that geoscientists of old found, and whose extraction (and ultimate emission as a greenhouse gas) would not have been possible without our discipline. Our responsibility goes beyond merely cleaning up the mess left by the gasworks industry - it extends to using our professional understanding of the deep sub-surface to help mitigate the effects of those carbon emissions.


  • Harry Yates - Director, Fakenham Museum of Gas and Local History (presenting the history of the site)
  • Paul Nathanail, CGeol EuroGeol SiLC - Managing Director, LQMSpeakers (presenting a recent case study of a detailed quantitative risk assessment of a former gasworks, and reflecting on decarbonisation)
  • Professor Russell Thomas CBiol CEnv - Technical Director, Ground Risk and Remediation, WSP (providing an overview of the gasworks industry and the various processes that were developed to extract methane and other substances from coal)
  • Dr Ken Scally - Technical Director, ChemTest (tbc) (sharing his detailed knowledge of how to analyse soils and water for gasworks containments)

Booking information

Places are very limited - the 'classroom' can only accommodate 20 people. Your place will only be secured by registering via the link to the right of this page.


10.00am: Registration and refreshments

10.30am: Welcome to Fakenham

10.40am: Professor Russell Thomas: Gas from coal – an overview of the gasworks industry

11.10am: Dr Ken Scally: Chemical analysis of soil and water for gasworks contaminants

11.30am: Tea/coffee

11.45am: Harry Yates: Fakenham gasworks and the Museum of Gas and Local History

12.05pm: Paul Nathanail: Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment of a former gasworks

12.30pm: Light lunch and discussions with speakers, volunteers and delegates

1.30pm: Guided tour of gasworks

3.15pm: Tea/coffee

3.30pm: Paul Nathanail: Year of Carbon – century of decarbonisation

4.00pm: End of day

Registration rates

£ 50.00
£ 75.00
£ 30.00
£ 30.00

Geolsoc Contact

Katherina Steinmetz

The Geological Society
Burlington House

Convenor Contact

Paul Nathanail

Paul Nathanail