Kibworth Gas Light & Coke Company

1862 – 1948

Soon after Kibworth railway station opened in 1857, discussions started to consider establishing a gas company in the village. A company was formed with the Rev F. Islip as chairman. Kibworth Gas Light & Coke Company started to supply customers on Thursday 23 October 1862 at a site on New Road, next to the railway bridge. £1,240 of the initial capital invested of £2,000 was subscribed by parishioners.

At first coal was offloaded at the station and carted down a track to the gas plant. The first supply of coal came from the Staveley pit in Derbyshire. By 1900, a separate rail track had been laid from the station sidings to the gas company so coal could be tipped from wagons onto the company’s stockpile.
At first, gas was used to light streets, then in houses. The first reference to supplying gas cookers was in 1912. At this time, most cookers were rented by customers with payment for gas being made by inserting coins into a meter.

The Gas Company continued to supply gas to the village until 1948 when the industry was nationalised and its activities were transferred to the East Midlands Gas Board. The company was never a major employer but for 86 years it played an important part in the development of the Kibworths and Smeeton Westerby. The site today is unkempt and will eventually be developed. When that happens, it would be fitting if its former use could be recognised in some way, by a plaque or street name.

David Holmes