April 08, 2004
Southall Blue Tower

Gazing out the window of the train from Ealing Broadway to Slough, I see it every day. And I always wonder what purpose it serves. The fact that it’s a crisp light-blue makes me think that it must be a water tower. It’s obviously a very prominent landmark - as it can be seen for miles around. It’s so tall that it has mobile phone masts mounted on its sides - and it has a big black sign painted on it: the letters “LHR” with a big black arrow underneath - pointing airline pilots in the direction towards Heathrow Airport.

Southall Blue Tower
(Taken from window of train headed towards Ealing Broadway. Raindrops out of focus on the window.)

To me it’s a symbol of Southall (which is the Punjab-town of London.) It’s the very same blue tower that figured in the film “Bend It Like Beckham” - the bit in the film at the beginning when you see the girls playing football at their practise ground. That blue tower can be seen quite clearly in the background landscape:

The same blue tower: As featured in the film “Bend It Like Beckham”

UPDATE: Thanks to Nigel - I’ve learned that the blue tower is actually part of what was formerly known as Southall Gas Works - and you can watch a video of it at their website: http://www.southallgasworks.com/thesite.htm. There are some other fascinating videos on the same website - including one which shows scenes of life on Southall Broadway.

Posted by jag at April 08, 2004 08:03 PM

It’s a gasometer. There’s one in Harrow which has “NO” painted on the top, apparently.

And the reason why? http://www.landair.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/dmail.html - Apparently a pilot used the wrong gasometer as a landmark and nearly caused an accident.

The gasometeer on Lee Road in Mill Hill was used in the film “Shooting Fish”.

Gasometers - gotta love ‘em!

Posted by: Nigel on April 8, 2004 09:41 PM

Hi Nigel - thanks for the explanation! Gas eh? Well you learn something new! Amazed that pilots have been mistaken between Northolt and Heathrow though. Didn’t realise there was a gasometer near Northolt.

I have seen the Mill Hill gasometer! Shooting Fish - what a great film!

Posted by: Jag on April 8, 2004 09:55 PM

Bonjour! Interesting thread. If you have time : Mark painting

Posted by: painting on April 25, 2004 08:17 PM

I loved the film.Strange building.

Posted by: Des Hooper on July 31, 2004 08:43 PM
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