Gas Works

Rev. E. Bartrum complained “of a nuisance… from the foul and offensive effluvia from the Gas Works in Great Berkhampstead [at the junction of Water Lane with the Wilderness]. He stated that the stench from the Gas Works was so bad that persons in both the houses under his charge were prevented from sleeping, in consequence of the smell proceeding from the works, and he had no hesitation in saying that the Gas Works are a greater nuisance and a more serious annoyance than the noted Muggle Pit [cesspool] or the Black Ditch; that the Governors contemplate making an extensive addition to the buildings close to the Gas Works, but, in his opinion, they would be almost uninhabitable unless the Directors of the Gas Company were compelled to do their duty, and abate the nuisance attaching to their works.” (Bucks Herald, Jul 1877).

Berkhampstead Gas Company charged with committing a nuisance arising from …
“… the emission of offensive effluvia, injurious to the health of some of the inhabitants of Berkhampstead. For a long time there had been complaints of pestilential smells given off at the Gas Works, to the discomfort of the people living near. Dr. Fry (Head Master of the Grammar School) stated that the school was in close proximity to the Gas Works, only his garden being between. He had experienced bad smells for the last four years – a horrid stench of a sulphurous nature, which got into his house day and night at intervals. Mr. Muir: the nearest point from his wall to the Gas Works was 200 feet. He had erected a coach house, residence for his coachman, and a stable, near the Gas Works. The smell did not, he believed, come from privies and heaps of refuse in the Wilderness. The Gas Company authorities… undertook… to do their best to prevent any recurrence of any cause of complaint. The case was adjourned.” (Bucks Herald, Oct 1891).

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Shambles, Wilderness

“A parish meeting was held at Berkhamsted to consider the proposed removal of the Gas Works from the centre of the town to Gossom’s End. Several residents protested against the proposal as likely to depreciate property. Dr. Fry said the Berkhamsted Grammar School had suffered much annoyance from the gas works and needed the existing site [at the junction of Water Lane with the Wilderness] to extend the school grounds. He believed there would be little nuisance when the gas works were re-built on modern principles. A resolution opposing the removal was defeated by 28 votes to 11.” (Luton Times and Advertiser, Jul 1904).

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Gas works at Gossoms End