||In 1856 the Great
Harwood Gaslight and Coke Company was formed and work began in Heys Lane
on land within the boundaries on the plan.
Was this the real reason the Mercers and Haydock leased the land?
Because of the strict conditions laid down in the lease there would need to be new terms and no doubt enhanced payments and it is possible that the three entrepreneurs were involved in, if not the leading lights of, the new gas company.
The Great Harwood Company was taken over in 1863 by the Accrington Gas and Waterworks Co. and major reconstructions and extensions were carried out in the 1880s. Centralisation of the company's gas production lead to further extensions in the 1920s and meant Great Harwood became the main centre of manufacture and distribution for an area including Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Billington, Rishton, Whalley and Wiswell.
The legacy of the lease would
therefore be the two gasometers, the Plough Inn being just as much a by-product
of town gas manufacture as coal tar.
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