We are currently experiencing issues with our online payment portal. If you are having difficulties using the portal, please contact our team on 02920 278991 to make a payment over the phone. 

Thank you for your patience while we work to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

Close alert panel

Wales & West Utilities Principal Environmental Engineer Sarah Gillard with the date stone of the former Avon Street gasworks.

Engineers from Wales & West Utilities have discovered a key part of Bristol’s rich industrial heritage – while cleaning up an old gasholder.

The company’s environmental team is cleaning up the former Avon Street gasworks in Bristol and found the date stone of the original gasworks buried deep inside an old gasholder tank. Avon Street gasworks was a major site for the manufacturing of town gas in Bristol, operating from 1821 to 1949. The gas that was manufactured from coal was used for the first public street lighting and subsequently heating and powering things like refrigerators, irons and even hairdryers. The stone marks the incorporation of the Bristol Gas Company on 25 March 1819, and is a very significant find which appears to have been buried in an old gasholder tank for 75 years.

Unusually intact and recovered with very little damage, the stone represents part of the city’s rich industrial heritage and it is hoped that the stone will be put on public display as part of any future regeneration of the site and surrounding area. Wales & West Utilities is also working with the M Shed museum, in Bristol, on ways to further mark the importance of the gas industry to Bristol over the last two centuries

Wales & West Utilities' work on Avon Street is part of its programme to clean-up and environmentally improve former gasworks and gasholder stations across the south west of England and Wales that were inherited from predecessor companies. This is part of the company’s commitment to promoting sustainability and protecting and helping the environment for today and for the future.

Wales & West Utilities Principal Environmental Engineer, Sarah Gillard, who is project manager for the clean-up work said:

“Everyone on site was very excited when we found the stone as we were digging out the old gasholder tank.

“Historically, when gasholders were filled in, it was with anything available – including demolition rubble.Gasholders and old gasworks sites all across our network and across the country have been cleaned up and I know of some amazing things being found – old lamps, an intact jar of pickled cauliflower and, believe it or not, a lorry – but nothing as historically significant as this.

“It’s a bit scuffed from the digger and there’s some staining from when it’s been buried, but we’re not going to be repairing or cleaning it up too much – it all adds to the stone’s story.”

Professor Russell Thomas, a gas industry historian added:

“The recent discovery of the date stone of the former Avon Street Gasworks is a significant finding, and is one of the oldest and most important artefacts remaining from the manufactured gas industry.

“Bristol was one of the earliest cities to adopt gas street lightening, and Avon Street, along with other sites played a critical role in the development of the city in the 19th and 20th centuries and the war effort in both the first and the second World War’s.”

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across Wales and the south west of England. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe replacement programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.