Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Beckton Gasworks

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1871. Beckton Works.
February 1904.
1926. Reconstructed pier and coal handing plant
1926. Belt conveyor over storage hoppers
1926. Railway viaduct with inclined belt conveyor
1926. 6,000-ton coal storage hoppers

See also Gas Light and Coke Co.

Named after Mr S. Adams Beck, governor of the Chartered Gas Co[1]. Beckton was several miles from the nearest village, East Ham. The company built a small village beside the road into the works for key operators; this included churches, shops, a post office and a public house.

1868 Construction began.

1870 Production of gas started at Beckton. Crude tar from Beckton was conveyed by barge to other works for distillation; the largest of these in the area was Burt, Boulton and Haywood, with works at Prince Regent's Wharf, Silvertown and at Millwall.

1871 Reference to Beckton Road, leading to the Chartered Gas Light and Coke Co's works at Barking[2]

The company decided to process its tar and ammonia by-products.

1879 Beckton Products Works, built on a site adjacent to the gas works, opened. Another by-product, coke, was sold to a wide domestic market.

The rapid expansion of the Gas Light and Coke Co led to the need for a large transport fleet. Every type of transport was used and usually owned by the company. Shipping, barges and railway engines were often used for the import and export of coal and by-products at the works. Road transport ranging from horse drawn carts to wagons catered for other supplies and maintenance needs.

1889 Men were laid off from Beckton, prompting the founding of the National Union of Gasworkers and General Labourers, which subsequently became part of the General, Municipal, Boilermakers and Allied Trades Union (GMB Union).

1926 10th July. His Majesty the King, who was accompanied by the Queen, visited the Beckton Gasworks of the Gas Light and Coke Co and formally opened the new coal handling plant. The combined equipment of cranes and conveyors, which, when completed will be capable of dealing with 2000 tons of coal per hour, is claimed by the owners to be the largest installation of its kind in Europe.[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1870/02/04
  2. Gazette Issue 21 April 1871
  3. The Engineer 1926/07/16 p 69 - p 71 for full details
  • Chemicals from Coal by C A Townsend [1]