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Thursday, 6 August 2009

The Ratcliffe Gas Light and Coke Co.

The Aldgate Gas Company was joined by a second gas company in East London at much the same time as the City and South London Companies were opening. It was a half a mile or so to the south of Aldgate, and nearer to the river. Whether or not this works was the ‘East London Gas Company’ is far from clear. However, whatever its somewhat mysterious antecedents, a gas works on the site about to be described was managed for most of its existence by the Ratcliffe Gas Co.

Who were the men who set up the Ratcliffe Gas Company? The following list, and brief details, are taken from the preamble to the Company’s first enabling Act of Parliament and describes those who were prepared to put their name to it. They were mainly City and East End businessmen - but most of the names given are so common that accurate research is impossible.

Thomas Davies: Old Street, distiller.
William Jones: Of City Road, Gent. In 1839, a William Jones was the landlord of the City of London public house in the City Road.
William Martin: Of Hornsey, Gent.
William Stone: Of Sun Tavern Fields.
Robert How: of Queen Street, coachmaker.
William Gardiner: Ratcliffe Highway, Gent.

A very comprehensive history of the Ratcliffe Company can be found in successive issues of CoPartnership Herald of 1932. Archive material exists in the London Metropolitan Archive and in Tower Hamlets Local History Library.

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