Tag Archives: gas

Companies Amalgamated with the Wandsworth Gas Company

From the centenary booklet of the Wandsworth and District Gas Company:

The Mitcham Gas Light and Coke Company was formed in 1849, and commenced with Works at Mitcham. The following year the Company was extended to take in Merton and altered its name to “The Mitcham and Merton Gas Light and Coke Company”. Its expansion increased , for two years later, mains in Tooting were purchased from the Phoenix Gas Company, and the name was altered again to “The Mitcham, Merton and Tooting Gas Light and Coke Company.”

The Wimbledon Gas Light and Coke Company was formed in 1852 and Works were built in Haydon’s Road. Ten years later negotiations started with the Mitcham Company in reference to amalgamation, and in 1864, the Wimbledon Company was amalgamated with this Company, and the two became the Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gas Light and Coke Company. The Wimbledon Works closed down in 1877.

The Mitcham Company amalgamated withe the Wandsworth Gas Company in 1912.

The Kingston Gas Light and Coke Company was the outcome of a small company formed in 1835, and was reorganised in 1854. Gas was supplied to Kingston and Norbiton, and in 1862, the second trunk main was laid from the works to Surbiton. Two years later the mains were extended to Esher.

The Malden Gas Company had been formed and was supplying Malden, but in 1868 the Kingston Company purchased the Malden’s Gas Works and Mains, and extended their own mains to New Malden, Worcester Park and Old Malden. Mains were ultimately extended to Claygate, and continued extensions followed.

The Kingston Company was amalgamated with the Wandsworth Gas Company in 1930.

The Epsom and Ewell Gas Company was formed in 1839, curiously enough at an hotel at Epsom bearing the same name as that in which the Wandsworth Company was formed – the “Spread Eagle.” The early records show that while the Company was successful from the start it was concerned in a difficult problem in 1841, for it recorded that in 1841 the surveyor and engineer to the original works was indicted with a number of charges and was to be brought to trial. The allegation against him (according to an old and very lengthy legal parchment) was that he had left 5,000 leaks and left the works “insufficient, inadequate, imperfect, unskilful, and inappropriate, etc.”, causing damage to the plaintiffs amounting to £10,000.

The records also include references to the meetings of the Directors, at one of which, held at the “Spread Eagle” Inn, on the 21st July, 1853 : “no resolutions were passed on account of strangers being present.”

The Epsom and Ewell Company was amalgamated with the Wandsworth Gas Company, in 1912.

The Sutton Gas Company came into being in 1853, and was also successful from its inception for records show an early reduction in the price of gas, a determination “to supply the village with gas at as low a rate as any village of the same size as any in the country,” and (in 1863) reference to the necessity of calling the Directors frequently together to sanction various extensions as they might be required. A minute in May, 1876, indicates the prosperity of the Company for it records: “Your Directors have pleasure to inform you that their efforts for the last twelve months have been crowned with the usual success.”

The Sutton Gas Company was amalgamated with the Wandsworth Gas Company, in 1931,

Source: “The Wandsworth and District Gas Company 1834 to 1934”, available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

From the National Archives:

The Wandsworth gasworks were established in 1834 on the south bank of the Thames close to the Wandsworth Bridge. The early company supplied Wandsworth, Putney and part of Battersea. The Wandsworth and Putney Gaslight and Coke Company was incorporated by AoP in 1856 following its formation by Deed of Settlement in Feb 1854. The first chairman was R.Barchard who was succeeded by James Howell and his son Thomas Howell. In 1912 the company amalgamated with the Mitcham and Wimbledon District Gaslight Company and the Epsom and Ewell Gas Company to form the Wandsworth, Wimbledon and Epsom District Gas Company. In 1931 the Kingston upon Thames Gas Company and the Sutton Gas Company were acquired and the title changed to the Wandsworth and District Gas Company. The headquarters of the company was at Fairfield Rd, Wandsworth. In 1936 the Leatherhead Gas & Lighting Company and the Walton upon Thames and Weybridge Gas Company were absorbed. The chairman between 1903 and 1925 was H.E.Jones who was followed by his son F.H.Jones. The company owned a fleet of colliers to supply coal from the NE of England. The first steam collier was acquired in 1906 – the SS “Radcliffe” which carried about 1050 tons of coal. Pontoons were also built with steam cranes to unload the colliers. The SS “Wandle” was purchased in 1909 and became the flagship of the fleet. The company purchased land at Worcester Park in Sussex in 1924 for additional gasholders. On nationalisation in 1949 the undertaking became part of the West Surrey Division of the SEGB.

The records of the smaller gas companies which were absorbed by Wandsworth DGC are listed within the main group of Wandsworth DGC records as the individual records were absorbed by the administration at Fairfield Rd. AoPs relating to old gas companies prior to amalgamation are listed with Wandsworth DGC AoPs. There are a small number of records of former undertakings which were clearly not a part of Wandsworth DGC collection and these are listed under their former names – e.g. Leatherhead Gas Company etc.

1865 OS Map of Wimbledon Gas Works

1865 OS Map of Wimbledon Gas Works

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Mitcham Gas Works, Western Road

Town gas was produced at the works in Western Road, Mitcham, from around 1867 to 1960. During the 1930s around 200 tons of coal a day was used, see How Gas is Made.

Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Work_Industry_19-4, copyright London Borough of Merton, taken 18th March 1960

This OS map from 1951 shows three gas holders.

In 2019, Google StreetView shows the only remaining gas holder, and a 65 metre high microwave radio tower next to it.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 18th March 1960, page 1:

The gasworks to close over 100 jobs are hit

Mitcham’s gas will no longer be home-made. The gas-making department at the Western Road gasworks closes on May 1.

The supply will come by pipeline across Mitcham Common. The move is part of South-Eastern Gas Board’s change over to a grid system.

Well over 100 men will be hit, it is believed. A list of jobs available at the Mitcham works, and others, has been circulated.

Only short-term workers are in any danger of being out of work.

The Western Road works employs about 500 people. The clerical staff will remain.

The gasworks has been at Mitcham since 1867. It is now considered to be out of date.

Will its three gas holders go? The answer, say the gas board, is no.

The holders will store the piped gas – it will come mainly from Croydon.

What do people living in the gasworks think?

A woman at Fountain Place whose home with is within 30 yards of a gas holder said: “I can’t say I mind the gas making department closing, but I would be rather sorry if the holders went.

“I think living near gasworks is healthy, I am 72 and have hardly had a day’s illness.”

Another Fountain Place woman, Mrs Elizabeth Cooper, said: “Perhaps the end of gas-making will mean that or washing no longer gets dirty. I can’t really complain about smells.”

Healthy? “Never ill at all – that’s our family,” said Mrs Cooper.

Another woman said: “I have got a sort of attachment for the gas holders. The place would not be the same if they went.”

Note: The gas appliance maintenance department moved from Western Road to Old Kent Road in March last year.

From the Norwood News – Friday 28 October 1960

Gas worker hits at Gas Board

Chairman of Lower Mitcham Young Conservatives, Mr Eric Pillinger (he works for the South Eastern Gas Board), hit out at a nationalised industry on Friday – the South Eastern Gas Board.

He said that since he had joined in prenationalisation days he had seen:
the level of surtaxed staff get bigger and bigger;
Gas works close down until there was only one left in the South Eastern area;


Work being carried out which could be done by a staff cut to a quarter;
“When we send some people round to inspect jobs to see they are going all right. Do we get just one person round ? No, we get half a dozen.”

Mr. Pillinger, who said his claims of overstaffing were probably on the liberal side, thought economies should be made and some personnel “kicked out.”

Mr. Pillinger, speaking at a brains trust at the Buck’s Head, Mitcham, was answering a question on whether nationalised industries were carrying passengers among their executive staff.

From the booklet : The Wandsworth and District Gas Company, A Century of Progress 1834 to 1934.

The Wandsworth and Putney Gas Light and Coke Co. was formed in 1834. In 1934 it is comprised of eight original companies, brought together by two purchases and four amalgamations.

1834 Wandsworth Company formed.
1835 Kingston Company formed.
Malden Company formed.
Dormay’s Company (formed some time later).
1839 Epsom and Ewell Company formed.
1849 Mitcham Company formed.
1852 Wimbledon Company formed.
1857 Sutton Company formed.
1864 Mitcham Company amalgamated with Wimbledon Company.
1868 Kingston Company purchased Malden Gas Works.
1873 Wandsworth Company purchased Dormay’s Company.
1912 Wandsworth Company amalgamated with Mitcham and Wimbledon ; and Epsom and Ewell Company.
1930 Wandsworth Company amalgamated with Kingston-on-Thames Company.
1931 Wandsworth Company amalgamated with Sutton Company.

See also Companies Amalgamated with the Wandsworth Gas Company.

There was a competition to name the buildings at the gas works, see Gas Works Building Names

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.