Always under Pressure: A History of North Thames Gas since by Malcolm E. Falkus

By Malcolm E. Falkus

This non-technical, readable ebook lines the heritage of North Thames fuel from the nationalization of the gasoline in 1949 until eventually privatization in 1986, a interval which observed the swap shape a place within the Fifties the place its survival used to be threatened.

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Sample text

Also, 'supervision visits' to various works and districts - a continuation of Gas Light & Coke Company practice which lasted throughout the Board's existence always included at least one part-time Board member. A brief glance at the composition of the first Board demonstrates clearly the range of experience and expertise brought by the part-time members. Dr E. V. Evans had been General Manager and Managing 26 Always Under Pressure Director of the South Metropolitan Gas Company. His experience of the gas industry was vast, having joined the South Metropolitan at the tum of the century and having later become its first Chief Chemist.

The entire area of this company, of course, lay south of the Thames. From 1936 gas-making at Chertsey ceased and gas was then bought in bulk from the Gas Light & Coke Company. Also south of the Thames was the territory served by the Ascot & District Gas & Electricity Company. This covered an area of some seventy-eight square miles in Berkshire and Surrey. The company had started in 1883 and the electricity side of the company's activities had already passed into public ownership in 1948. The oldest of the amalgamated undertakings, apart from the Gas Light & Coke Company itself, was the Windsor Royal Gas Light Company.

Labour costs also rose substantially. Wages and salaries were around 22 per cent of costs in the 1950s. The average payments to manual labour at gasworks rose by some 75 per cent during the decade, and there was often extreme difficulty in finding suitable labour for what was heavy and arduous work at a time of full employment generally. The impact of increasing coal costs was magnified by the differential charging scheme operated by the National Coal Board. This scheme was introduced by the Coal Board in 1951 and first put into effect in 1954.

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