Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The old gas works house

My house used to be the old gas works house, the place where the manager for the gasworks lived until the end of the 1960s.  I've been trying to find out as much as I can about the history of the house since I moved in, but it is tricky - both the numbering for the street and the name of the house has changed a few times in the course of 164 years.

At the auction last week I bought an aerial view of the town which was a still from a Grimsby Evening Telegraph.  I'm not sure of the date, but it shows my house, the garden before the end of it was sold off, and the Gasometer.  It isn't where I was told it used to be (at this time, anyway).  It seems to be where the doctor's surgery around the corner is.  The area beside the house which is now filled with a row of houses, seems to have been barren and fronted with a hoarding.

There have actually only been three private owners of the house, despite its age.  The Market Rasen Gas and Lighting company built it, and the companies which owned it changed names fairly regularly over the course of the years until gas was nationalized and the house became one of the assets.  Then in the late sixties, the house was sold into private ownership and between them and me there are only the people I bought it from.

I thought that Market Rasen was a relatively new town, as most of the visible architecture in the town is Victorian, which certainly seems to have been the most prosperous time for the town.  I remember a friend telling me that there is a very curious division in Totnes of the new town and the old town, with the much older houses having survived in the poor end of town because they couldn't afford to replace them, while the old houses in the rich end of town were all torn down and replaced.  Maybe that's what went on here:  the town became prosperous int he 1850s and so all the buildings were replaced in short order. 

Of course, I know there are some much older buildings in and around Market Rasen, but a lot of what can be seen dates from then.  However, I've discovered that there were roman potteries in Market Rasen, and anglo-saxon gold has been found in fields near the town.  It's curious to me that the town barely seems to have grown in all the time since it was founded, whereas other towns around the wolds have expanded. 

I need to see if I can find information about what was here before the 1850s... although it is likely that the street was called something different, as I presume the name Chapel Street came from the building of the massive Methodist chapel in 1852. 

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