At one time every town had its own gas works where gas was made by heating coal in retorts and purifying the vapours given off: no such plants survive anywhere in Britain they have been closed by amalgamation with larger concerns and finally by the advent of natural gas from the North Sea.In our area Alcester, Bidford and Studley all had gas works; Alcesters was the earliest, dating from 1851. As well as commercial gasworks of this sort, large country houses sometimes had their own small gas plants if they were too far from a town.
|A 22||Alcester Gasworks||SP 091573||The name "Gas House Lane" and one green gate-post overlooking a derelict open area are all that remain of the gas works. The Alcester Gas, Light and Coke Co. formed in 1850, had one gas holder and a small battery of retorts; coal brought by horse and cart from canal at Tardebigge; gas sold almost exclusively for street and house lighting until late in 19th cent. Works expanded c. 1890 when demand for gas increased as it began to be used for heating, cooking and industrial purposes. More land was purchased and a second gas holder built. Company paid good dividends for many years; taken over by Redditch Company c. 1950 and works demolished in mid '50's. Company used a steam engine for pumping until 1890s when a gas engine replaced it.|
|Ar 81||Ragley Hall Gasworks||SP 072535||Private gasworks of Lord Hertford; stood behind stables at Ragley Hall and supplied house until l920s; had one gasholder and small retort house; demolished 1930s but shown on current 6" OS map.|
|B 115||Bidford Gasworks||SP 095551||Gasholder (contains natural gas) still present together with building which may have been retort house. 1880 D. says gas introduced in 1869; works eventually taken over by Cheltenham Gas Co. Manager not mentioned after 1908(D)|
|St 252||Studley Gasworks||SP 074633||Stood by Alcester Road. Site still owned by Gas Board; contains a house (the Managers?) a garage which was formerly the oxide store (iron oxide used in purifying gas) and the retort house (6x8 x6m red brick, slate roof) Under garden to S. are bases of old gasholders and girders from previous building. Works taken over by Redditch Gasworks 1927 and closed in 1930s; showroom open till 1961. Production believed to date 1870.|