Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Strabane Gasworks.

Strabane's municipal gasworks were established on a site extending to some three acres and three roods situate between what was originally called Port Street, (now Port Road) and the Strabane Canal. As with most of the land in the environs of the town the site belonged to the Abercorns. On 10th May 1904 The Urban District Council of Strabane took a two hundred and fifty year lease of the lands at an annual rental of ten pounds. The term of years ran from 1st November 1903 and the UDC covenanted to construct by 31st October 1905 "such gasworks and other buildings as are contemplated ..... by the Strabane Gas Order 1902."

It appears that the establishment of the Strabane Gasworks was very much dependant upon the Treasury giving a loan of £15,000 to Strabane UDC. On the 11th February 1904 Mr. Hemphill, MP for Tyrone North queried the First Lord of the Treasury, (Austen Chamberlain), about the delay in providing the loan. Chamberlain's response makes clear that the figures presented to the Treasury cast a question mark over the viability of the venture. Clearly however the funds were made available by the Treasury - ultimately.

This was not Strabane's first gasworks. There was apparently a gasworks some 400m South of the Park Street locus. On 20th May 1854 a Mr George Mearns who was described as the manager of the Strabane Gasworks married a Susan Arbuckke at 2nd Presbyterian Church, Strabane.

The Port Road Gasworks ultimately closed down on 9th August 1986. Some two years later the freehold reversion in the site was acquired from the Abercorn Estate by Strabane District Council, (successor to Strabane UDC).



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