Register of ancient monuments

Reference number 1005783

Mill Gas Plant
Shaw Lodge Mills
Boys Lane


Remains of a private textile mill gas plant, of mid to late C19 date. Visible remains include those of the retort house, containing three fireclay retort benches, and of two cast-iron holder tanks, one of which has a deep well at the bottom, containing the tank drainage valve to the river. The textile mill gas plant was the first commercial application of manufactured coal gas for the purposes of illumination. Private plants survived the establishment of municipal gas plants in the early decades of C19, frequently supplying textile mills where the premises were of sufficient size to distort the municipal supply. A miniaturised version of practice current on the larger, municipal scale, decline set in after 1870, when technological advances led to economies of scale in the large plants which made private gas production less economically competitive. The majority of private plants had ceased operation by the First World War.


Rare survival of the main structural elements of a private gas plant built to supply a major textile mill. The survival of the fireclay retort bench is of particular importance to the study of the development of the gas supply industry.

Last Updated: 07/10/2004