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British Industrial History

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Ebenezer Breillat

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Ebenezer Breillat (1796-1880)

1796 September 6th. Born the son of John Breillat, who established the Bristol Gas Company in 1815.[1]

1820 Articles of agreement, Ebenezer Breillat and Bristol Gas Light Co[2]

1822 Married in Bristol to Ann Bromhead

1825 Listed as an engineer, 71 St George's Road, Manchester.[3].

1851 Living at the 3 Gas Works, Bristol: Ebenezer Breillat (age 54 born Bristol), Engineer. With his wife Ann Breillat (age 57 born (?), Glos). Also his sister-in-Law Martha Sherry (age 54 born Bristol), House Proprietor. One servant. Note: at Adjoining house is John Breillat.[4]

1880 January 19th. Died.

1880 Obituary.[5]

The Bristol Times and Mirror referring to the death, at Bath, of Mr. Ebenezer Breillat, at the age of 83, "for many years engineer of the Bristol Gas Company," says Mr. Breillat was, the second engineer of the company, his father, a very inventive, enterprising, and ingenious man being the first.

In 1818 Bristol was first lighted with coal gas from a station with two gasometers erected in Temple-backs, near Tower Harratz; the company being established by Act of Parliament. The first experiment of illumination by coal gas was made in Broadmead, in 1815-16, where the father of Mr. Breillat, now just deceased, carried on business, the new light being originally exhibited his own shop window. Before this oil lamps were employed, fortunes having been made by contractors for the supply of the article used. Mr. Breillat's experiment — "burning air," as it was called — was alternately laughed at and denounced. Nevertheless, the brave son of science persisted, and from lighting his own shop placed three or four lamps gratuitously in Broadmead, which he supplied with gas from his own meter. Fortunately there were people enough in the place to see, as they visited Broadmead and wondered at the new illuminating agency, that it must ere long supplant, the oil regime; so they formed themselves into a company, raised modest capital, employed Mr. Breillat, and started the first gas works in Temple-backs.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Thornbury Roots website: 'How Gas Came to Thornbury'
  2. [2] National Archives
  3. 'History, Directory, and Gazetteer of the County of Lancaster', Vol 2, by Edward Baines and W. Parson
  4. 1851 Census
  5. Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 29 January 1880