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Panel for the History of The Gas Industry

The IGEM Panel for the History of the Gas Industry was formed in the mid 1970s at the time when traditional gas manufacturing processes were being closed down after almost 170 years of continuous development. Natural gas has replaced the old gasworks, there were nearly 1500 of these in operation at one time using over 25% of the output from the collieries in Britain. Also new techniques for gas distribution were being introduced. The gas industry was changing into a modern integrated utility company and the old face of the gas industry was fast disappearing. There was a need to save some of the history.

Nine of the gas regions had formed collections of archival material and old appliances and created gas museums to conserve their "heritage". The Panel proceeded to advise and support these and prepared "collecting policies" for the museums to avoid duplication and repetition.

There were more significant changes to the industry in the mid 1990s. which saw the regions disappear and the formation of a central archive at Partlington and a single national museum at Leicester. Nine museums were closed and their contents of archive documents and artefacts were dispersed or put into storage.

The Panel decided to concentrate on producing the Historic Gas Times, a quarterly publication available to anyone who is interested in the history of the industry. For more details please complete the request form, which is available here. The Historic Gas Times consists of articles created by Panel members and sent in by readers covering all aspects of industry history. The first issue appeared in 1994 and gradually built up its content from 1000 words per issue to over 8000 words. Distribution has also increased from about 100 copies per quarter to 400 today, which are mailed to addresses around the world.

The Panel supports the IGEM History Fund, which is a registered Charity, and the HGT is the newsletter of the fund. Any surplus from the donations received for the newsletter are placed into the fund.

For more information on the history of the Gas Industry visit nationalgasmuseum.org.uk

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