Published privately by the author in 2013, 280 pages. Hardback with Dust Jacket - c.15.5cm by 21cm (N7717)
Brand New Book
This book is a detailed history of the county gas works of Bedfordshire, and records the expanding use of gas in the nineteenth century, the various difficulties faced on the business and technical fronts, and finally the processes of amalgamation and take-overs of the gas companies in the twentieth century, with a short summary of life under nationalisation.
From the introduction: Bedfordshire was no different from the rest of the country in adopting gas works and I have tried to gather all the available material in this one volume. Various sources have been used from the original minute books, newspaper reports, local authority records, the gas press in the form of the 'Journal of Gas Lighting' and 'The Gas World' plus various statistics including those supplied to Parliament. Unfortunately there still remain gaps in the histories of some of these works and as soon as this book is published more information will doubtless turn up the usual fate for all historians.
An explanation must be given regarding all the facts and figures in this book. Wherever possible the original sources have been consulted, that is, the company minute books but unfortunately not all have survived and in the case of sole ownership, for instance in the early days of Kempston, may not have existed in the first place. They also vary considerably in quality ranging from the well detailed to virtually a list of accounts to be paid. To build up a reasonable picture the local newspapers have been consulted which add the human touch especially with the reports of the opening ceremonies and some of their accounts of the annual general meetings of the companies have been helpful. Along with the technical information and statistics from the official gas industry publications I believe a general guide to the activities of these companies and their gas works has been achieved.
The book is arranged as a gazetteer, with the entries listed in an A to Z format. There are around 17 entries in total, each detailing a local gas company/works, and they include: Ampthill, Arlesey, Aspley Guise & Woburn Sands, Bedford, Biggleswade, Dunstable, Kempston, Leighton Buzzard, Luton, Markyate Potton, Sandy, Shefford, Three Counties Hospital, Toddington, Turvey and Woburn. There is also a chapter on various small private gas works. The length of each entry and the amount of information included varies. The book includes a handful of photographs and illustrations.