Old Kent Road Gas Works

From London's Ghost Acres

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In 1833 the first works were built near the Grand Surrey Canal on Old Kent Road (The National Archives). The works on Old Kent Road began as 3 acres but by 1880 they stood on “36 acres of ground, thirty of which are freehold, the rest being leasehold. From time to time the original works have been added to and the ground built upon, until they have assumed colossal proportions. They can now make in twenty-four hours 7,000,000 cubic feet of gas, which means that they can carbonise 700 tons of coal per day, and in winter this is actually done” (The Engineer July 2 1880, 5).

Gas works were used to produce and store flammable coal gas. Coal was mined in Britain and then shipped on a barge up rivers or on trains to the gas works. There it was burned to create the gas, which was then purified and put into the gas holders until needed for consumer use to light streets and buildings. The process also created coke, tar, ammonia, and sulphur as by-products.


1833 to 1953


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Located in



Gas, Tar, Coke, Ammonia, Sulphur

Used Raw Materials



From To Owner
1833 1949 South Metropolitan Gas Company
1949 1953 British Gas Corporation


From To Industry
1833 1953 Coal Gas Industry