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HER Number:MDV817
Name:Barnstaple Gasworks


Site of Barnstaple Gas Works, established in 1832 and in production until the 1960s


Grid Reference:SS 563 327
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/90

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GAS WORKS (XIX to XX - 1801 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

Gas Works recorded on 1:500 1855-1895 Town Map. A retort house, engine house, meter house and gasometers are marked together with pumps, tanks and a well.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Gas Works marked on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map.

Bone, M., 1973, Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology, 34 (Monograph). SDV78228.

The Barnstaple Gas Light Company was established in September 1832; the first gas was supplied in September of the following year. In 1869 the company was sold to the Barnstaple Gas Company who reconstructed and enlarged the works. The present two-lift column guided holder dates from 1896 and the three-lift holder from 1930. Gas was produced in both horizontal retorts (completed 1872) and vertical retorts (completed 1938). The horizontal retort house was situated alongside Barbican Road and was only recently demolished. The gas works closed when a main pipe reached the town.

Southwest Archaeology, 2005, The Barnstaple Gasworks: Archaeological Desk-Based Study and Building Survey (Report - Assessment). SDV322747.

Until the 19th century the site of the gasworks in Barbican Road to the southeast of Barnstaple was known as Foxes Field and used for agricultural purposes. In the early 19th century the field was used for clay digging and brick making until the first gas works were constructed in 1832-3. In 1868 the property of Barnstaple Gas Company consisted of the gas works with many associated buildings, a cottage and a garden. The buildings and installations were developed and altered through the late 19th and 20th century until the production ceased in the early 1960s. Many of the buildings were demolished and the site became a Transco Depot. A building survey was undertaken in 2005 when only two buildings survived from the gasworks era and both had been altered and modified obscuring their original layout and function. Fragments of other buildings belonging to the gas works phase were identified but their function could not be determined. Bore holes and test pits excavated in 2003 indicated the ground had been made up with brick rubble for the gas works on a green field site.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV322747Report - Assessment: Southwest Archaeology. 2005. The Barnstaple Gasworks: Archaeological Desk-Based Study and Building Survey. Southwest Archaeology Report. 050720. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108164 ]
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital).
SDV78228Monograph: Bone, M.. 1973. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. A5 Paperback. 34.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV2186 - The Barnstaple Gasworks: archaeological desk-based study & building survey

Date Last Edited:Oct 24 2012 3:43PM