GAS 02

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Stanley
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GAS 02

Post by Stanley » 01 Sep 2018, 04:31

GAS IN BARNOLDSWICK 02

Many of my regular readers will know that over the years I have spent a lot of time researching water mills. I came across some accounts of the finances of Lancashire corn mills in the 18th century which shed a lot of light on to the industry. One of the things that really surprised me, and it was common to all of them, was the amount of money spent buying candles for illumination. It was a very significant cost.
I have no documentary evidence but I think we can be certain that this was also a large expense in the early water-powered thread mills in Barlick. Even more important than a corn mill because workers needed to see what they were doing. We noted last week that a public gas works opened in London in 1812. This was not available in Barlick and oil lamps would have been even more impracticable. So it isn't surprising that by 1850, with the availability of cheap coal via the canal, the first steam mills at Butts and Old Coates Mill installed their own gas-making plant to supply gas for illuminating the sheds. I suspect that Mitchell's Mill, later named Clough Mill, had a plant as well. All these mills used the gas themselves and there was no public sale.
This changed after 1853 when Billycock Bracewell built the New Mill, later named Wellhouse and installed a gas plant in the yard at the mill that was big enough to produce a surplus. He started selling gas to nearby houses for domestic illumination. It was charged for at so much a gas jet, no metering needed, and proved so successful and profitable that he realised there was a business opportunity.
Bracewell had been renting the Corn Mill off William Bagshawe of Coates Hall since about 1850 because he had ideas about using the water supply from Butts Beck for his New Mill. By 1859 Billycock had bought the Corn Mill from the Bagshawe family and before his death in 1885 he had started building a new, larger gasworks on the site dedicated to providing a public supply for the town. In the 1887 sale documents for the Bracewell Estate brought about by the collapse of Bracewell and Sons the Corn Mill and the new, functioning, gasworks were lots 3 and 4 but were not sold. In 1888 a new company was formed, The Barnoldswick Gas and Light Company bought the gasworks on August 16th that year and ran it as a public gas supplier.
In 1892 the Barnoldswick Local Board bought the works as a going concern for £13,852 and ran it as a municipal undertaking. By 1935 they were supplying Earby and Salterforth as well. In 1948 under the Gas Act which formed a nationalised industry the North West Gas Board took over and the works made coal gas until April 1954 when North Sea gas replaced coal gas and the plant was closed.
Sorry for the gallop, but now you know the history of your gas supply!

Image

The Corn Mill and gasworks in 1888.
Stanley Challenger Graham
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scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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chinatyke
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Re: GAS 02

Post by chinatyke » 04 Sep 2018, 13:23

Stanley wrote:
01 Sep 2018, 04:31
... and the works made coal gas until April 1954 when North Sea gas replaced coal gas and the plant was closed.
Is that statement correct? 1954 seems early for North Sea gas. Even 1964 would be early.

www.gocompare.com says:
The discovery of natural gas in the North Sea presented a cleaner, cheaper alternative to coal-based production, though, and the whole of the UK was converted to natural gas in the decade after 1967.

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Stanley
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Re: GAS 02

Post by Stanley » 05 Sep 2018, 02:08

I agree. A typo somewhere...... No good fretting, it's printed and published now.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!

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