Oldest Surviving Gas Works Protected

The DCMS and Historic England announced on the 15 July 2020 that the remains of what is believed to be the earliest surviving gas works in the world have been protected through scheduling. The site lies at the Dolphinholme Worsted Mill in the upper Wyre Valley in Lancashire, and was installed in 1811, providing gas to light the mill during the long, dark, Lancashire winter days.

Incredibly, a drawing survives of the layout of the gas lighting for the mill from the 1810s. This shows the arrangement of lights on each floor. The works were installed by Samuel Clegg, pioneer gas engineer who went on to build the first public gasworks at Westminster in 1813. This new discovery came as part of the research Historic England undertook for their guidance document on the subject, entitled Gasworks and redundant Gasholders: Guidelines for their Evaluation and Recording, which was published in December 2019. A detailed publication is due later this year. The guidelines are available to download from here:

https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/gasworks-and-redundant-gasholders/

The site remains include the ruinous works chimney, retort house ruins, and the base of the gas holder. Remains of the mill itself including the wheelpit have also been protected. Further details of the discovery of the 1811 gas works at Dolphinholme, along with images of the remains, and the contemporary cross-section through the mill and a contemporary plan of the gasworks, can be found here:

https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/earliest-surviving-gasworks-remains-protected/

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