Queen's Road Gas Works

From Historical Hastings

Constructed on land that formed part of Water Mill Garden owned by Edward Milward and sold to John Bryant for the establishment of the works. A plan of the land that also included detail of the Priory Farm and Ozier fields was drawn up by James Pankhurst, the Borough Surveyor, in 1830[1] Gas was produced by the distillation of coal that had been brought into the town by ship from the coal-mines around Newcastle.

1956 Mapping showing development on site

The Queens Road gas works became a prominent landscape feature adjacent to the railway line between Ore Railway Station and Hastings Railway Station, with the construction of the Gas Storage Tanks taking place between 1848 and 1893.

Construction of an additional gas-tank holding 150,000 cubic feet of gas took place in 1856, the cast iron base being constructed by Messrs. Newton, Chambers & Co. and the tank itself arriving by ship; the "Phoenix" from Grimsby[2].

On the 23rd of February 1866, a conveyance is recorded covering "Land and Buildings to the West Side of Queen's Road" wherein a large chunk of property was transferred from Henry Cornelius Pearson, Alfred Leighton Sayer and Charles Henry Gatty to the Hastings and St Leonards Gas Company. This contained a number of covenants, one of which involved a guarantee that the owners of the premises on the East side of Queen's Road would be able to clean and maintain the sewer under this site which exited at the south-east corner of the site implying that the main sewer for those properties ran under the east side of the site. Other conveyances of the same date named George William Veness, Robert Haynes Jervis, George Sacre, Frederick Wallis Bourne and James Rock the younger as selling property to the Gas Company. On the 30 December 1871, further lands owned by The Right Honourable Charles Cornwallis Baron Braybrooke Philip Wykeham Martin and The Honourable George Herbert Windsor Windsor Clive, The Honourable William Archer Amherst and The Right Honourable Julia Mann Viscountess Holmesdale were transferred to the Gas Company. A further conveyance dating to 14 August 1899 imposed a covenant on the property by Eliza and Frederick Earl Gold, Edward Chalinder and George Newbery - possibly owners of adjoining lands[3].

A red brick building facing onto housed the showrooms for customers of the company, with workshops behind. By 1908, a series of roads had been constructed on the land which the Gas Company intended to become public highways connecting Brook Street to Waterworks Road. A number of councillors were already connected with the Gas Company, which caused some scandal when the gas-works relocated to Glyne Gap and the same councillors were pushing for the roads to be dedicated, but other councillors were concerned regarding ownership of the various slivers of land needed to construct the entrance and the possible demolitions required to form the entrances. This was in addition to concerns that some councillors were 'profiteering' by means of their financial holdings within the company, which for a time, effectively was the largest rate-payer in the town moving out of the borough to pay lower rates to a different council[4]. By 1927, a timber yard had appeared on the site and a bus depot was shown on 1938 mapping, with the roads that had formed; Brookland Road, Clegg Street (running parallel to Brook Street) and Murdock Road appearing on 1956 mapping[5] It would appear from the deeds that the now-lost roads on the site were planned in 1923, with a restrictive covenant placed on the land prohibiting the usage of any buildings as a beer-house in competition with The Fountain or The Princes in South Terrace (these premises opening in 1864) and no more than six dwelling houses being permitted dating to the 1866 sale of land.


Following the demolition of the Gas Works, the council gave permission for a Supermarket and petrol filling station to be constructed on the site in January of 1980[6].

References & Notes

  1. East Sussex County Council Archive The Keep GB179_PEW_8_1_5
  2. Brett Manuscript Histories Vol. 6 Chap. 56 pp53-54
  3. Land Registry Title DeedsESX91751
  4. British Newspaper Archive Hastings & St. Leonards Observer 16 May 1908 Pg. 0008
  5. View: TQ8109 - A (includes: Hastings) - Ordnance Survey National Grid Maps, 1940s-1960s, accessdate: 29 August 2020
  6. The Hastings Chronicle: 1980 onwards – The Hastings Chronicle, accessdate: 25 January 2022