Your memories of the Royston Great Gas Crisis

Royston gas crisis 1991

The Royston community has been remembering the Great Gas Crisis in the town in 1991 - Credit: Sylvia. P. Beamon

Royston has been remembering the Great Gas Crisis this week - as Monday marked three decades since a gas surge caused fires and explosions across town. 

Scores of memories have come flooding in as Roystonians recounted the community crisis that nearly blew the town off the map on the evening of March 8, 1991. 

The enormous gas surge that headed into many of the towns homes caused explosions, including one at Greneway School, and fires - but also meant the town was sealed off and placed on red alert due to the threat of absolute devastation. Miraculously, the town remained intact.

Retired PC Ralph Edwards said: "Myself and the other PC Edwards were the only two police officers on duty in Royston that day.  We quickly had the job of trying to evacuate as many houses as possible. 

"We did this by telling any one person in each street, asking them to help by passing the word on to others to get out of their houses as quick as possible. Then later the job of assisting the Gas Board to change all meters, this often meant having to break into an unoccupied property in order to do this."

Sharon Stratford had to leave her car on the A10/A505 roundabout, and walk home to Princes Mews. Kelly Westgate was stuck at the Little Chef at Flint Cross, and Kenny Hart also ditched his car. 


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James Tanton said: "I was at a school disco at Studlands Rise and all our parents had to come and urgently pick us up. My dad got stopped on the A10 coming back home from work."

Margaret Clowery said: "I was a childminder - I was just saying goodbye to them at the door, then there was smell of gas and everyone coming out of their front doors. Then sirens started from emergency services. It was a very unreal night - I was told by police going around with mega phones not to turn light switches on and to stay out of the house."

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Kate Berry said: "I was painting the back wall of the stage at what was Meridian for the production of Little Shop of Horrors - though it might have been Guys and Dolls - I had cycled down to the school and was up a scaffold tower painting away. I only heard about it when I got home.

And a lighter note, Lorraine McLeod said she remembered "eyeing up the fit gas men at school."

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