London’s first gasworks

I first learnt about Friedrich Winzer when I took this photo of his monument in Kensal Green Cemetery.

Frederick Winsor memorial, Kensal Green cemetery
Frederick Winsor memorial, Kensal Green cemetery

Winzer, later Winsor, was born in Brunswick, Germany in 1763. He came to London in the 1790s and was experimenting with gas lighting, obtaining a number of patents.

In 1807 he succeeded in lighting up Pall Mall with gas lights – I guess they looked a bit like his monument.

I was reminded of this photo lurking on my many hard drives by reading in David Rosenberg’s book, Rebel Footprints, that he founded Britain’s first gasworks in Great Peter Street, Westminster,  in 1813. David says,”He is also memorialised through Winsor Terrace, which leads to the former site of Beckton Gasworks, where Will Thorne organised for the eight-hour day.” Something that the junior doctors are fighting about today. The Beckton gas workers strike was way back in 1889 and was the next big successful strike after the Match Girls in Fairfield Road, Bow. The Dockworkers followed, also in 1889, and feature in my Mile End walk.