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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Winsor's Backers

Who were the men who decided to put their money - and in some cases their time - behind Winsor’s ideas for a gas factory?

They were a mixed bag - some were rich patrons of a number of forward looking causes - farming, shipbuilding, and so on. A remarkable number of them seem to have built follies - implying that they had spare cash in large quantities! They included some of the very rich men who were currently backing all sorts of industrial improvements and overseas trade.

What follows are some brief biographical sketches of the members of what was at first called “The National Heat and Light Co.” . In later years – as will be demonstrated in due course – the original proprietors of a gas company often exhibit a common characteristic, usually geographical. However, these subscribers to the first gas company are a very diverse group – and it may that a general wish to sponsor a new technology is what they have in common.

It might be noted that a great deal of further information about these people could be obtained from their address and occupations which are listed in the share register of the company. This massive document was displayed in the showcases at the London Gas Museum, Bromley by Bow – and I was able to read the page on view. When the Museum closed the document disappeared and I am assured by the staff at Partington that they have not seen it. It is clearly extremely valuable – not just as a source of historical information but as an artefact in itself.

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