The Gas Light & Coke Company (GLCC) was set up after royal approval by George III. At the time, Britain was still at war with Napoleon.
Preston became the first town in the UK to have gas street lights. Before the 20th century, most street lighting was fuelled by gas.
GLCC designed the world’s first gas meter which was installed at the gas works of the Royal Mint.
The world's first gas cooker was designed by James Sharp.
GLCC was supplying gas to 70,000 street lights in London.
The world's first gas-powered bath was designed.
Robert Bunsen invented the Bunsen Burner, changing the industry forever. He improved the combustion of gas by drawing in air, which created a more intense flame. This resulted in the first gas fire being developed in 1856.
The world's first domestic water heater was designed.
The prepayment gas meter was designed.
Carl Auer von Welsbach designed the incandescent gas mantle, which brightens the light generated by a naked flame. This invention led to a huge demand for domestic gas lighting.
The first gas holder was built in Northwich.
World War I began. During the war the GLCC supplied town (manufactured) gas to munitions factories, while the waste products of coal were used to produce disinfectant for injured soldiers, plus petroleum and coke for domestic homes to burn. Many women took up essential manual jobs.
Thermostats on gas ovens were introduced.
The first waterless gas holder in the UK was built in Ipswich.
The Women's Gas Council was set up to promote domestic gas use.
GLCC built Kensal House in London, a housing scheme for low income families.
The GLCC's Territorial Army joined the war effort; tragically, 387 employees never returned.
The London Regional Gas Centre was set up to repair any areas damaged by bombing raids. After a bombing of St Paul’s Cathedral, they had to fight through flames to turn off the gas mains next to an unexploded bomb.
The British coal industry was nationalised.
Prime Minister Clement Attlee rolled out the Gas Act, which began to nationalise the industry and created 12 regional gas boards. This meant the end of the GLCC.
Queen Elizabeth II opened Britain’s first nuclear power plant in Cumberland.
The Clean Air Act was introduced, which boosted the use of gas fires for heating.
Rising coal prices drove a move towards oil-based gas and imported liquefied natural gas.
North Sea gas was discovered off Grimsby.
The Gas Council announced the move from town (manufactured) to natural gas. The project to refit 40 million appliances cost over £500m and took 10 years to complete.
The Council for Registered Gas Installers (CORGI) was formed after a gas explosion at Ronan Point in London. The aim was to reduce injuries and fatalities from explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Gas Council was abolished and replaced by the British Gas Corporation.
Business use of gas exceeded domestic use for the first time.
The UK’s last town gas works closed in Scotland.
The gas industry was privatised and British Gas Plc was formed, with the 'Tell Sid' campaign encouraging customers to buy a stake in the new company. Ofgas was created to regulate the gas industry.
The National Grid was formed.
British Gas was restructured and Transco created to transport and store gas.
British Gas was split into separate companies, Centrica Plc and BG Plc.
The first gas connection with Europe was launched at Bacton in Norfolk. British Gas started selling electricity to customers.
Lattice Group (the parent of Transco) split from BG Plc.
Lattice Group merged with the National Grid to form National Grid Transco plc.
Smart meters were introduced.
British Gas celebrated its 200th birthday.