Neilson & Co Works No 1561 Beckton No 1

This locomotive was built in 1870 and spent its entire working life at Beckton Gasworks in London.

Because of the low head room in the retort houses locomotives were limited to 8ft in height.

The Gaseworks at Beckton was opened in 1870 and was owned at that time by the Gas Light & Coke Company. The name Beckton was given to the plant and the surrounding area of east London in honour of the company’s governor Simon Adams Beck.

The plant eventually to manufacture gas for most of London north of the Thames.

Following nationalisation in 1949 the plant was owned by the North Thames Gas Board. By this time Beckton was the largest gas works in the world.

At its peak Beckton had employed 4,500 people.

The coal carbonisation plant at Beckton became uncompetitive with North Sea gas and was closed in 1969, which was also when the last trainload left the associated chemical works. By the late 1970s only 100 employees remained.  

The locomotive is owned by the National Trust and is on static display at Penrhyn Castle Industrial Railway Museum.

1561 at Beckton Gas Works – October 1957
1561 at Penrhyn Castle Industrial Railway Museum – October 2012

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