Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: October 11, 2019
Webpage updated: October 11, 2019




In the midst of the post-war enthusiasm for nationalisation, the South Western Gas Board was formed and took over the Plymouth and Stonehouse Gas Works from Sunday May 1st 1949.

Devonport's gas works at Keyham closed on and as from Wednesday April 30th 1958. 

A mains link between Totnes and Ivybridge brought in to use on Thursday October 16th 1958 meant that gas could now be transferred from Exeter and Torquay to Plymouth the beginning of a national grid for gas.

On October 26th 1967 the Lord Mayor, Alderman Frank Chapman, opened a new Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) plant on a 24-acre site at Breakwater Quarry, Oreston.  Large tankers discharged cargoes of light petroleum distillate at Cattedown Wharves, which was then piped under the Cattewater to be enriched at the new works.  Likewise, Plymstock Station yard was converted into a discharge point for train loads of butane, which was also pumped to the Breakwater works.

This enabled the closure of the coal-fired Gas Works at Coxside on and as from Wednesday July 31st 1968 and closure of the last remaining coal carbonisation plant in the area, at Torpoint, on Tuesday September 30th 1969.

Plymouth's final gas lamps -- mainly in the Barbican, Stoke and Saint Budeaux areas -- were replaced with electric ones during 1973.

Also in that year the Gas Council was replaced by the British Gas Corporation, the old Gas Boards becoming its Regional sectors.

With the Conservative government's privatisation plans in mind, the oil production assets of the British Gas Corporation were transferred in 1984 to a new business, Enterprise Oil.

Finally the end of the public ownership of the gas industry came in November 1986 when the assets of the British Gas Corporation were transferred to British Gas PLC and "Sid" started to tell everyone that its shares were available to the general public.

In November 1986 the assets of the British Gas Corporation were transferred to British Gas PLC and shares offered to the general public.  The gas industry was once again back in private ownership.