Before the British discovered a huge reserve of natural gas off the coast of the islands in the North Sea, industries manufactured gas locally using a process called coking. Though it was a dirty and dangerous process, it remained prevalent in the United Kingdom until the 1960s.
Fakenham’s Museum of Gas and Local History is the only remaining gas works in England and Wales. It documents how coking was done, and how the precious energy source was distributed and used.
The museum is free to enter and is run by volunteers who will take you on a tour of the grounds, which are now a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It houses all of the equipment used to manufacture gas from coal, such as retorts, condensers, purifiers, meters, and gas-holders. There’s also a rather marvelous collection of gas appliances used in homes.