Edinburgh and Leith Gas Commissioners

Edinburgh and Leith Gas Commissioners

Gas production in the Edinburgh area began in 1818, when the Edinburgh Gas Light Company opened in New Street, Edinburgh. In 1823 the Edinburgh & Leith Gas Company set up in opposition, with works in Baltic Street, Leith. In 1824 a third company was established called the Edinburgh Oil Gas Company, based at Tanfield. This company was absorbed by the Edinburgh Gas Light Co. in 1829. The two remaining companies continued in competition.

To improve the situation it was decided that gas manufacture and supply should be taken into what was effectively municipal ownership. In 1889 gas production and supply was taken over by a Commission controlled by the two major local authorities in the area, Edinburgh Corporation and Leith Corporation.

The Commissioners represented the two authorities and included the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the Provost of Leith and a number of councillors from each authority. The Commissioners had wide-ranging authority including permission to buy out the existing companies, dig up streets, carry out construction work, to supply gas and to sell or hire gas appliances.

The need for the Commission came to an end in 1920 when Edinburgh and Leith amalgamated and the city boundaries were extended. Gas supply and distribution was transferred to the Gas Department of Edinburgh Corporation.