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The Threatened Gas Works on Dukes Meadows
In 1913 – 14 the Brentford Gas Company promoted a Bill in Parliament for power to construct Gas Works on half the area.
The Bill was opposed by the opposed by the Middlesex County Council, the Chiswick Urban District Council, the Barnes Urban District Council, the owners of Houses on adjoining land and the lessees of Chiswick House, with the result that the preamble of the Bill so far as it related to the Construction of these Gas Works was “not proved” and the proposed sale fell through.
In 1918 when many thousands of these whose homes would be disastrously affected are absent on war service, the Gas Company is seeking to acquire the whole area. It should not be allowed to acquire the whole or any part. A crowed and overflowing meeting of the Chiswick Residents, ratepayers and Property Owners held at the Chiswick Town Hall on the 1st May 1918, unanimously demanded that in the best interests of Chiswick the District Council should oppose to the utmost the erection of the gas Works in Chiswick.
Protest Against Building a Gas Works on Dukes Meadows 1918
Artist General View of Development
of Dukes Meadows Should Look
It was shown when the Company’s last Bill was before Parliament that the Company have 50 acres unbuilt on their Southall estate.
The Bill is now being opposed by the same authorities and persons as in 1914, and the same result should follow and must be very vigilantly secured. Parliament is urged to resist the powerful menace of the gas Company’s proposals and to endorse the opinion of the District whose homes and amenities are threatened with an outrage against the claims of public heath, wise town planning, and good housing for the people.
Realising the alternative danger when the Gas Company proposals are defeated of a unique area being given up to haphazard development with an uneconomic and uncontrolled waste of the investment offered by the land, the same public meeting supported by votes of authority and influence both inside and outside the District, unanimously called upon the Chiswick Urban District Council to Acquire the whole Riverside area and develop it for the benefit of the inhabitants as a whole.
View of the West Side of Dukes Meadows Showing Barnes Bridge with Chiswick Bridge in the Distance.
The twofold object of opposition to the gas Company’s Bill must be to preserve as much as possible the healthiness and beauty of this site and to secure the much needed erection of desirable dwellings which shall provide homes that will be a credit to both Chiswick and London.
This Committee which is in touch with the Urban District Council and its officers who are naturally occupied with the many urgent problems of the times, has carefully thought out with the aid of expert advice a constructive scheme for supplanting the Gas Works proposal and meeting the future needs of the district and the opportunities offered by the site.
The accompanying plan of the area shows a layout which has due regard to the existing conditions, the projected new arterial roads of the conference of Local Authorities and the Traffic Branch of the Board of Trade (the formation of which was arrested by the War but should be made an early public work on the demobilisation), the reasonable varied housing, industrial and recreative needs of the District, the possible acquisition of Chiswick House as a Public Gallery of Fine Arts set in gardens of singular beauty, and the provision of a required cemetery extension and of garden allotments.
View Showing East Side of Dukes Meadows with New Bridge over Thames to Barnes
The plan is based on careful estimates of finance in relation to the probable cost of purchasing and opening up the land (with the requisite local roads and sewerage).
The constituent items of this provisional scheme are as follows:
360 Workers dwellings or Cottages (12 to the acre) = 30 acres
Residential Flats facing Mortlake = 3 acres
Houses by railway and main roads = 20 acres
Allotments = 6 acres
Playing Fields (to be let to Clubs) 23 acres to the east
And 18 to the west of the railway, the low-lying character
Of which makes them to be particularly suitable for Pying Fields = 41 acres
Cemetery =14 acres
Orchards (for an intensive horticultural and allied trades
Suitable for disabled ex-service men of Chiswick) = 50 acres
River Promenade = 11 acres
Roads = 9 acres
Total =184 acres.
View of Dukes Meadows Development Plan