ENERGY

In the 20th century, energy production and supply along the Thames, east of Tower Bridge, was a vital element of the industrial success of the area.


‘Town’ gas and electricity generated from coal powered the factories and furnaces. Barking Power Station produced electricity whilst the Beckton Gas Works and the Greenwich Gas Company both manufactured ‘Town’ gas.


Everything about these sites was vast. For example Beckton Gasworks covered up to 600 acres, employed a workforce of 4,000 and by 1890 was using over 1 million tons of coal a year.


The sites were located near to the Thames to minimise pollution and to allow for the easy transport by ship and barge of coal in and by-products out.


Greenwich and Beckton became major producers of pitch and coal tar for roads and other chemical processes.


The discovery of North Sea natural gas and oil in the 1960s led to the closure of the sites and their redevelopment from the 1980s onwards. Greenwich Peninsula was famously converted in the 1990s into the site of the Millenium Dome (now the O²).