Gas in Bures
The majority of residents
think the arrival of a Gas supply in the village during 1992 was a major
event - many remarked, "Gas has finally arrived in the village"
Left:- View of the 1859 Gas Works from the Church Tower.
Gasholders hidden behind trees.
The First use of Coal Gas
One of the most important
inventions of the late 18th century was gas lighting. It was
developed by William Murdock, who was the son of an Ayrshire millwright.
He was born in 1754 and initially worked with his father before joining
Boulton and Watt in Birmingham.
In 1794 he heated coal in a closed iron vessel in his garden at Cross Street, Redruth and piped the resulting gas into the house, where he lit a series of burners attached to the other end of the pipe. This was the first practical system of gas lighting to be used anywhere in the world.
In 1802 Boulton and Watt agreed to the
installation of two gas lamps outside their Soho factory. This was the
first installation of gas lighting in the country. The following year
the whole works was illuminated by gas. In 1806 the cotton spinning mill
at Manchester that was owned by Phillips and Lee was illuminated by Murdocks
gas lights and his invention was soon in demand. It was not long before
all large factories were using gas lights.
One major concern for neighbours of Gasworks was the Gas or Storage holder, which residents feared would explode with catastrophic results. The fear of explosions was scotched when a leading gasworks developer drove a pick axe into the side of a gasholder and lit the escaping gas, without incident!!
The reason for this:- Gas needs to combine
with air before ignition, to create an explosion. In the demonstration,
it was known that the gas would not burn in the air as the pressure from
the holder would exclude oxygen until after ignition.
It was erected in 1859 with a capital of
£800 in £5 shares and called the "Bures Gas Light &
Coke Co Ltd"
Gas lamps were located along
the main roads in the village, they were lit at dusk and extinguished
after the pubs had shut !
It was owned by Charles
William Grimwood, Mr Deaves was the operator and Mr Goody the secretary
In 1900 and 1915 Charles William Grimwood was still listed as the proprietor, engineer and Manager, now with his office in Sudbury.
By 1929 it was known as "The Consumer's Gas & Coke Co.Ltd". with Mr B.C.Deaves as Managing Director and S.W.Hume as Secretary.
Reliability was a problem.
The Gas Works were built alongside the river, because of the ease of
unloading fuel from the barges. However this arrangement, had one fundamental
However, by 1932 the arrival of (AC) electricity by overhead cables from Sudbury resulted in the death of the locally generated (DC) supply and a further nail in the coffin for Gas,
In 1937, Mr B.C.Deaves was still M.D. but Mr H.Underwood had become Secretary. The generating make in 1937 was 2.5m cu ft but sales were only 1.7m cu ft