16 March 2012

In November last year work started at Shoreham Port building a large, state-of-the-art grain storage and handling facility for Shoreham Silo Services.  The development is well underway and making excellent progress and recently local contractor for the works, Adenstar made a fascinating discovery.  Whilst working on the ground works for the site and excavating to remove obstructions to the driven reinforced concrete piles Adenstar uncovered a historic artefact dating back to the beginning of last century. The stone carving was found abandoned, covering a disused chamber that formed part of the former Portslade gasworks site.

Shoreham Port have researched the subject of the carving and discovered that it was created in memory of John Birch Paddon (1825-1910).  John formed the firm of Paddon and Ford to work his various patents for improvements in gas-meters, governors and other apparatus. His designs for scrubbers, gasholders and wind-ties are now widely used.  In 1860 he was appointed Engineer and Manager of the Brighton and Hove Gas Company, becoming director in 1886 and chairman in 1900.  He designed and constructed gasworks at Portslade, Southampton, Lewes and Winchester, acting as Consulting Engineer to these and other gas and water companies for many years. He was a director of the Gas Light and Coke Company, chairman of several other undertakings, and Justice of the Peace for Glamorgan.  Mr. Paddon was elected an Associate of The Institution of Civil Engineers on the 3rd December,1861, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 21st November, 1871.

Shoreham Port are hoping to restore the artefact and display it in an area visible to the public. Deputy Port Engineer, Brian Rousell, said “we knew there was going to be a legacy of the old gasworks in this area and were expecting obstructions to the piling, but this is a great piece of local history that honours the important work of one of my predecessors at the Institution of Civil Engineers.  I would like to think I could leave a similar mark on the Port at the end of a long and distinguished career!”

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