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Sunday, 9 August 2009

The Imperial Gas Company's Millwall products works

Imperial decided to set up its own products works at Millwall. Manufacture of these salts did not take place there 1825, two years later. Everard implies that the delay in opening was through inefficiency, connected with the financial scandals current in the company.

The Millwall works was set up on land leased from the Mellish Estate - a site that later became known as Nelson Wharf. The Imperial, which never did anything by halves, erected buildings designed by their architect Francis Edwards. This consisted of an open sided, part‑weatherboarded shed for boiler and vats.

By building this works Imperial hoped that 'a considerable advantage will accrue the proprietors'. In that they were mistaken. In 1829 the Millwall works was put up for auction and bought by the only bidder, George Elliott, a chemist and druggist of Fenchurch Street in the City. Elliott was also the leader of a group of shareholders who hoped to put an end to corrupt practice on the Imperial Board. His activities as a chemical manufacturer will be described in a later chapter.

The Imperial’s ammonia works had gone the same way as the tar works owned by the Chartered and the City of London. It appeared that it was only chemists from outside the gas industry who could make the manufacture of items from by-products pay.

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