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  • On 3rd December 1879, gas from the new Aylestone Road Gas Works was turned on
  • Production was increased many times over the years to keep up with Leicester’s growing population, by 1908, 629 men were employed at the Gas Works
  • In 1977 a museum was opened in the building and in 1997 it became the National Gas Museum

Leicester’s Demand for Gas

Gas was made from coal and first produced in Leicester at Belgrave Gas Works in 1821. Within 50 years, a bigger gas works was needed for the growing population. In 1875 the Leicester Gas Company bought a new site, ideally placed between the railway and the canal. In 1878 the Company was taken over by the Leicester Corporation who ran it for the next 70 years. On 3rd December 1879, gas from the new Aylestone Road Gas Works was turned on.

Aylestone Road Gas Works

The Gas Works had a large clocktower with a weathervane on top. Local people would have seen the clock, illuminated by gas, at night. The Works included many offices, stores and ‘retort’ houses where the coal was heated to make the gas. Production was increased many times over the years to keep up with Leicester’s
growing population. By 1908, 629 men were employed at the Gas Works and a stoker was paid 5 shillings and 5 pence each day.

Gas Museum 003
The Clock tower can be seen in the bottom right; Historic England

The John Doran Museum

Gas production at Aylestone Road stopped in May 1969, as supply was switching from town gas to natural gas. In the 1970s engineers started to collect the old gas equipment and in 1977 a museum was opened in the building under the clocktower. It was called the John Doran Museum after the Chairman of the East Midlands Gas Board. In 1997 it became the National Gas Museum and shows how gas was produced and how gas was used in the home. Objects in the museum include; gas lighting, heaters, water heaters, cookers and a gas radio.

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Gallery

Roman Leicester

(47- 500) A military fort was erected, attracting traders and a growing civilian community to Leicester (known as Ratae Corieltauvorum to the Romans). The town steadily grew throughout the reign of the Romans.

Medieval Leicester

(500 – 1500) The early years of this period was one of unrest with Saxon, Danes and Norman invaders having their influences over the town. Later, of course, came Richard III and the final battle of the Wars of the Roses was fought on Leicester’s doorstep.

Tudor & Stuart Leicester

(1500 – 1700) The wool trade flourished in Leicester with one local, a former mayor named William Wigston, making his fortune. During the English Civil War a bloody battle was fought as the forces of King Charles I laid siege to the town.

Georgian Leicester

(1700 – 1837) The knitting industry had really stared to take hold and Leicester was fast becoming the main centre of hosiery manufacture in Britain. This new prosperity was reflected throughout the town with broader, paved streets lined with elegant brick buildings and genteel residences.

Edwardian Leicester

(1901 – 1910) Electric trams came to the streets of Leicester and increased literacy among the citizens led to many becoming politicised. The famous 1905 ‘March of the Unemployed to London’ left from Leicester market when 30,000 people came to witness the historic event.

Modern Leicester

(1973 – present day) Industry was still thriving in the city during the 1970s, with the work opportunities attracting many immigrants from all over the world. While industry has declined in recent years, excellent transport links have made Leicester an attractive centre for many businesses. The City now has much to be proud of including its sporting achievements and the richness of its cultural heritage and diversity.

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