Time was when the utility companies, that provided light and power to our homes, sat right beside us. The striding pylons of the ‘National Grid’ did not arrive until after the The Electricity Supply Act (1926). Gas was usually supplied by a private company and it wasn’t until the introduction of natural gas in the late 1960s and early 1970s that there was a national supply.
By the mid 19th century there was a plant at the RMC that provided gas to the college and to local houses. However, people complained that this was ‘dull’ and a meeting was held at the Duke of York Hotel in December 1858 and plans were formed to create a new company – the Yorktown & District Gas and Electricity Company. A new works was opened in Yorktown in December 1862 , initially supplying quite a small area, but by 1890, gas was available in Frimley, Hawley and Yateley.
Electricity arrived in the town in December 1921, presumably also generated at the Yorktown site. It seems that the company thrived as a new showroom with offices and a further gas-holder was opened in December 1937 by the then MP Geoffrey Nicholson.
The actual works, and the railway sidings that provided the coal, disappeared with the introduction of natural gas and the land was turned into Blackwater Park. Not long after, a new road was created between the London Road and the new M3, driving through the gas-works site. Very recently the last gas-holder has been demolished and the site is to be re-developed.