THIS week, Chris Atkinson, from the West Linton Historical Association, brings us the history of the village's gas works...

The Gas Works had their origin at a “Magistrates’ dinner” in 1851 when Mr Lawson of Deepsykehead proposed “that the village should if possible be lighted with gas”.

This motion was seconded and a small committee appointed comprising Messrs C Lawson, Wm Morgan and Archibald Alexander.

So, the West Linton Gas Light Company was born and by February 1854 had erected and fitted out a formidable gas works on the Lower Green.

Mr. Richard Walter, from Kelso, was appointed as manager and soon gas was introduced into a number of houses and churches.

On the September 8, 1868 a public meeting was held in the parish school for the purpose of ascertaining if means could be devised for the lighting of the main street with gas lamps during the Winter Season.

A good number of the inhabitants were present and after some general conversation on the desirableness of the object it was arranged that four persons should canvas the village, and see if the occupants of the different houses would be agreeable to subscribe at the rate of 3d per £1 on their rental to meet the necessary expense.

The week following at a second meeting of the inhabitants it was reported that the proposal to have the main street lit had been cordially received by the householders and that the following gentlemen, Sir Wm Fergusson Bart, Wm Allan Woddrop Esq., Wm Forbes Esq., Andrew Webster Esq., James Gordon Esq., James Paris Esq., and Rev Mr Forrester, had all agreed to contribute £1 each for the erection of the lamps on the understanding that the inhabitants would provide for the maintenance.

The first six lamps, all in Main Street, provided and erected by James Anderson, Plumber, Dalkeith, at a cost of £8.15s 0d, were lit before the end of September 1868 to the gratification of all interested in the village.

For over thirty years the gas works provided gas for the village but it was never a very paying concern with street lighting being restricted from some time in September to some time in March, depending on whether the moon be early or late in either month. The lights were not expected to be lit on moonlit nights.

In 1887 it was resolved to cease gas production and dissolve the company. The works were put up for sale and purchased by Mr John Alexander for £50. Along with four other partners the gas works carried on until May 1900, when it was again found to be a losing concern.

This was not the end, however, for at a meeting on 1st May 1902 Mr Alexander stepped forward again to save the day by partially funding a new scheme to light the village with acetylene gas.

This was promptly carried out by Wm Moyes & Sons, Glasgow at a cost of £699.9s 0d, with £92.5s 8d to Parkinson & Cowan for meters.

This was a great success and even paid a dividend to shareholders.

Until the coming of electricity the village was well lit by acetylene gas both in the main street and in some houses.