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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Stein, Smith and Ditchley

The Boulton and Watt archive contains drawings for a gas making plant commissioned by Stein, Smith and Ditchley of Whitechapel. It is not clear if this plant was ever installed.

Stein Smith and Ditchley seem to have been rope makers - perhaps the proprietors of one of the numerous rope walks in east London. A reference to them in a 1784 directory also mentions a Walter Sims as the proprietor. Sims' rope walk was at Sun Tavern Fields - so perhaps this early factory gas making plant was in fact the precursor of the Ratcliffe Gas Company’s works which was later to open there.

There were a large number of rope works in east London at this period - of vital importance to the huge London shipbuilding and ship repair industry and it is interesting that two of them should have been the first to consider gas lighting in their works.

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