SALTBURN – Public Meeting at Saltburn The Gas Question
Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the Sea Gazette 07/12 1877.
PUBLIC MEETING AT SALTBURN ON
THE GAS QUESTION
On Wednesday night (05/12), a public meeting was held in Ruby Street Hall, Saltburn, to consider the question of the future supply of gas to the town. At present Marske and Saltburn, are supplied from the works of the North-Eastern Railway Company, which are situated midway between the two places; but within the last twelve months. It would appear that negotiations have been in progress for the sale of these works, both with the Redcar and Coatham Gas company, and with the Cleveland Gas Company, and as the requisite statutory notices have been given on behalf of each Company of intention to apply to Parliament next session for powers to extend their present limits of supply so as to include Saltburn, and Marske, the meeting under notice was convened, in order to elicit the opinion of the inhabitants of Saltburn on the subject. There was a very good attendance, and on the motion of Mr. Joseph Walton, Mr. R. Gill, solicitor, was called upon to preside. The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said that no doubt both of the schemes which had been brought under public notice had their merits, but the question, for those present, to consider was whether either of them would do for Saltburn, or if they had not better endeavoured to get a Local Board for themselves, which might purchase the existing gasworks; they would then get the supply into their own hands, and he would remind them that that work was best done which they did for themselves. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Joseph Walton was next called upon. He said that the question they were met that night to consider was one of a very important character, and he would deal with it under a threefold aspect, viz.: What the Cleveland Gas Company could and would do; and What they could do for themselves. (Applause.) The Cleveland Gas Company was a new company, started two-and-a-half years ago with a capital of £50,000, and so far they had not been able to pay any dividend at all. Having alluded to the powers possessed by this Company to pay back dividends, the speaker referred to the fact that as yet the Cleveland Gas Company had not sold more than 3,000,000 feet of gas per annum, and he thought its financial position was neither so satisfactory nor so good as that of the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company; neither did he think it advisable for Saltburn to have their gas, which would have to be forced or drawn down from Skelton to Saltburn, entailing extra outlay on machine-readable. This Company had all so to pay 2s.per ton extra for carriage of coals, as compared with Redcar and Coatham, and their means of disposing of residual products were not so good. Notwithstanding, they made a very good offer, viz., to supply Saltburn at not more than 4s.6d . per 1000 feet: this looked very tempting at first, but it also showed that the Company thought Saltburn, and Marske a nice little plum to try to get hold of; but he must say that for himself. he thought it very unlikely that there would ever get gas at any lower ratio than 4s.6d. Passing on to the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company, he remarked that it was in a capital financial position – he only wished that he was a shareholder; about £20,000 had been expended in plant laid down, and the maximum dividend of 10 per cent was already been paid, so that there was no fear that at any future time they would have to “bleed” the consumers to pay back dividends. The gas could also be brought from Redcar very easily, and he understood that the works. There were sufficient to supply not only Redcar and Coatham, but also Marske and Saltburn as well. Mr. Walton then went into some figures of his own with regard to the cost of making gas, and said he thought that if the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company would undertake to supply them at 4s. per 1000 feet, they ought to support them, but he was afraid that they would not do so. They, however, offered very fair terms, viz., to supply them at the same price as they did. The consumers in Redcar and Coatham; and within nine months after the completion of the works required to connect the mains, to reduce the price to 4s.6d. per 1000 feet, or the same price as the Cleveland Gas Company offered. Coming to the third point, whether they are not to endeavour to get a Local Board and takes the supply into their own hands, Mr. Walton again quoted some alkylation is which he had made, and pointed out that if they made the gas for themselves. They could not do so and be charged at a lower rate than 5s.6d per 1000 feet, at least for some years to come, though of course they would be gradually acquiring the property. It was, however, for the meeting to determine what was best to be done, though if the Redcar and Coatham Company would promise to supply them at 4s per 1000 feet. It was a question in his mind whether it would not be to their own advantage to support this Company’s application to Parliament. (Hear, hear.) The Chairman here read a letter which had been received from Mr. Trotter, of up Leatham, in which the writer advised the meeting to support the application of the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company. At the request of the Chairman, Mr. Garbutt (chairman of the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company), came forward. He said he did not appear to represent the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company, but simply to answer any questions that might be put to him by the meeting. – The Chairman: The question appears to be whether you will supply us at 4s.6d or less. Mr. Garbutt: We are Willey to supply you on the same terms as we do the consumers of Redcar and Coatham, and will undertake to reduce the price to fall.4s.6d.nett per 1000 feet within nine months of the completion of the connection with our mains. No doubt as this consumption increases we shall be able to make still further reductions. A number of questions as to the illuminating power of the gas supplied by the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company having been put to Mr. Garbutt and said, the questioner proceeded to put several other queries, which were considered by the meeting somewhat premature The Chairman next invited anyone present connected with the Cleveland Gas Company to come forward, but there was no response. Mr. Taylor (chemist) said he had been one of a committee on this question, and had visited Redcar, and was able to say with confidence that the Redcar and Coatham Gas Company would be able to supply them at less than 5s. per 1000 feet, and moreover that they are to do so. Referring to the three schemes, he did not think it would be right to decide on any of them that night, but it would be better to have a committee appointed, to see what was best to be done, and if they decided in favour of a Local Board. He did not think that either company would have any chance. He proposed that a committee be appointed to consider the whole subject, and afterwards call a public meeting. Mr. A. B. Moss seconded, and the following committee was chosen by the meeting. Messrs. J. Clarke, J. Walton, W. I’ Anson, R. Gill, W. Walker, C. Moore, Hornsby, Gilbertson, J. Horton, G. Ollvent, J. Peacock, N. Burton, A. B. Moss, J. C. Simpson, W. Taylor, T. Atkinson, F. C. Ball, T. Dickenson, W. Taylor, W. Whitwell, G. D. Space, J. W. Anderson, T. Knott, W. Holton, Thos. Agar, W. Granger, J. Hudson, J. Elmer Garbutt, and J. Hall. – Mr. Walton said it would be necessary to start a subscription to defray any expenses which might be incurred, to which he would subscribe £10 (Applause). The meeting terminated with the usual vote of thanks to the Chairman. At the close, those present were invited to sign the necessary requisition to the overseers, asking them to take the preliminary steps for the formation of a Local Board