Huddersfield Gas Company

The Huddersfield Gas Company was a private company initially formed in 1821 to provide gas to light street lamps in the centre of Huddersfield.

History

The Commissioners for Lighting, Watching & Cleansing (CLWC) was established in 1820 with 59 serving commissioners. By October 1820, a decision had been made in favour of using gas rather than oil to light the street lamps in the town. In what would remain a controversial move, several of the commissioners saw an opportunity to profit from the move to gas and quickly formed a private company — initially named the Huddersfield Gas Company — and ensured that the CLWC entered into a multi-year contract.

All five of the company's initial trustees — Godfrey Berry (maltster), John Dobson (banker), Joseph Kaye (builder), Joseph Brook (woolstapler) and John Booth (ironmonger) — were amongst the 59 serving commissioners. The first shareholders were recorded as follows, with half of them being CLWC commissioners:[1]

Shares Name Profession CLWC?
5 John Allison solicitor
5 William Walker Battye merchant Y
5 Godfrey Berry maltster Y
5 James Booth ironmonger Y
5 John Booth ironmonger Y
10 James Brook woolstapler Y
10 Joseph Brook woolstapler Y
5 John Carr grocer
5 Thomas Dinsley surveyor
10 John Dobson banker Y
10 William Beevers Dobson banker Y
5 Elizabeth Dransfield innkeeper (White Swan)
5 Thomas England druggist Y
5 John Horsfall (jnr) merchant Y
5 John Illingworth pattern maker
10 Frederick Jones surveyor
10 Joseph Kaye builder Y
5 William Learoyd manufacturer
5 John Newhouse plumber
5 Richard Newhouse plumber
5 John Peace solicitor
5 John Priest grocer Y
10 John Shaw woolstapler
10 Joseph Stoney merchant
5 Thomas Wrigley surgeon Y[2]
5 William Wigney innkeeper Y
5 George Wilson spirit merchant

The gas company's works were erected on Leeds Road.

The company obtained limited liability status in 1846 and was renamed the Huddersfield Registered Gas Light Company Ltd.

In 1861, the company successfully obtained an Act of Parliament "for Dissolving and Re-incorporating The Huddersfield Registered Gas Light Company, and for conferring upon them further Powers for the Supply of Gas to the Borough of Huddersfield, and certain neighbouring Townships and Places".

The company was purchased by Huddersfield Corporation in 1872 for around £140,000. A previous attempt by the Board of Improvement Commissioners to acquire the company for £63,000 circa 1859 had failed, partly due to opposition from the Huddersfield Chronicle and its editor Joshua Hobson who had long been critical of the company and its monopoly on the gas supply to the town.

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Further Reading

Notes and References

  1. "Origins and Basis of the Huddersfield Gas Company" in Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Jan/1861).
  2. Appointed in 1823.