The Great Central Gas Consumers' Company was formed by Deed of Settlement in 1849 and was backed by the Commissioners of Sewers of the City of London following petitions against high gas prices. It was proposed that the company would build a works to provide gas at 4 shillings at a time when the other companies charged 7. The works were built, in 1850, next to Tower Hamlets cemetery, on Bow Common lane, Bow Common at a cost of £106,000. A noticeable feature was the process, devised by Croll, of employing waste heat from one set of retorts to fire another. In 1851 the company gained statutory powers via the The Great Central Gas Consumers Act 1851. Although successful in reducing the price of gas, the Great Central suffered because of it, Bow Common fell into disrepair and an act of embezzlement by an employee finally compelled the company to sell to the Gas Light and Coke in 1870. The works were almost entirely rebuilt in 1926. In 1954 the works were used in a large-scale trial of accelerated carbonisation, and were still in operation three years later.
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