~ Gallery - Industrial ~
Gas Works
In October 1860, discussions with the Dudley Gas Works Company to extend gas supplies to Lower Gornal, proved unsuccessful due to it being at a lower level. The local committee decided to start their own project to supply the village.
A gas works was established at Musk Lane, Lower Gornal about 1864, coal gas at that time was normally produced locally and principally to supply street lamp lights which were being installed in townships around the district.
The Musk Lane site was probably chosen as it is at a low point compared to the surrounding district and thus easier to distribute the lighter-than-air coal gas.
"Gas for Lower Gornal
The District Gas Company have so far completed their works at this place and gas is being rapidly laid on to the houses and already a number of shopkeepers are burning it. This unequalled light is regarded as a great improvement. The church is lighted up for service and is usually crowded."
Wolverhampton Chronicle, 21st December 1864
In a public meeting of 1873, when Mr Heath was the gasworks licensee, the price and quality of the gas was criticized, it was suggested that a new gas company should be formed and a committee was set up for this purpose.
The original Victorian 'The District Gas Light Company Limited' works was acquired by Sedgley Urban District Council in 1888, at this point the works southern boundary was extended down to Brook Street.
After Nationalisation in 1948 the works became part of the Gas Board.
The original works entrance was from Gas Street which ran east/west through the centre of the site between Musk Lane and Bird Street. Gas Street disappeared and was subsequently built over some time during the 1930s.
An OS map of the original site in the 1880s shows a single gas holder, by the 1920s there were three holders on the works.
During the 1940s the site was expanded again and another large gasometer built adjacent to Bird Street, the new 100ft diameter holder probably commissioned by the newly formed Gas Board was still in place until about 1980, when it was finally removed.
In later times, the works was only used as a pumping and storage facility using the remaining large gas holder. By the early 1970s coal gas production was no longer needed with the advent of ready-made North Sea gas.
"The Gasworks was built on the site of a brick kiln (or perhaps kilns). The strip of land along the stream on the other side of Musk Lane (to the west, and south of the Pleck) was until the early 20th Cent. an ozier bed. Hence the name it bore in my youth... 'The Ogis' (pron. 'Ooh(w)jis').
The original horizontal retorts (settings and installation almost certainly by Gibbons Bros., Dibdale) were replaced by vertical retorts sometime around the late 1940s or early 1950s.."
- Jack Falstaff.
Looking from Bird Street where the largest gas holder stood.
The works was probably still producing gas into the 1960s, and the holder was still in operation until the 1970s, although at what time gas production stopped is not known.
Many of the old gasworks buildings remain today, although the early Victorian and Edwardian buildings have gone, some of the surviving buildings form part of the Musk Lane Trading Estate.
The crater from the last of the gas holders is situated off Bird Street, the site has now been cleared and two new dwellings built in 2017.
The tall building was built in the 1950s, Gas Street would have hitherto passed through where the building now stands.