A HISTORICAL trademark of Stourbridge which has cast a shadow over the town for many years is being demolished to make way for new houses.

The gas holder know as the "gasometer" near to Church Avenue and Clent Road in Amblecote, is being knocked down by the company National Grid, so new houses and apartments can be built on the site.

Residents in the surrounding areas were informed by letters from National Grid work on the site would start on Monday January 8.

During this time residents were told they may experience the smell of coal tar drifting over the area.

The gas holder has made its presence known by towering over the town for many years - this site carries a bit of history explained by Amblecote History Society.

Stourbridge Gas Works was built in 1835 - the large flat two-acre site was considered ideal for producing town gas' from coal.

In 1893 the Stourbridge Improvement Commissioners, the forerunner of the town council purchased the gas company and ran it as a local utility.

The works converted coal into town gas- a smelly mixture of hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide by means of huge ovens.

This gas was then stored in huge gas holders like the one being demolished on Penfields Estate, before being piped to factories and houses as fuel.

The Stourbridge works was knocked down in 1966 and a more efficient and less polluting works was built but a need for gas storage remained and the single gas holder was retained.

Resident, Sue Jones from Penfields Road,Amblecote who has lived there for over 30 years said "Everybody is glad to see the gas holder being knocked down.

"It is wonderful it is going as it cast such a shadow over the area."

Natalie Hewlett a spokesperson from National Grid said: "The demolition programme will take approximately 26 weeks to complete and is part of National Grid's ongoing commitment to regenerating derelict land and bringing it back to beneficial use.

"The regeneration of the site in Stourbridge is part of a wider programme of similar projects around the country."