The discovery of natural gas in the North Sea meant that manufactured gas became uncompetitive. The Beckton works closed between 1969 and 1970, when the last trainload left the associated chemical works.

North Beckton, bordering the northern end of Woolwich Manor Way, was mostly built up in the late 1980s with a network of short streets, even shorter cul-​​de-​​sacs and dinky homes, many built as part of social housing schemes. A handful of more imagin­atively designed properties reveal that this was one of the later stages of Beckton’s redevel­opment, when the earlier insistence on uniformity was relaxed.

Other notable movies filmed in and around the Beckton area during the 1980s included the 1981 James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, which featured extensive aerial views of the Gasworks in the pre-credit sequence. Beckton was also used as a location in Michael Radford's 1984 feature film adaptation of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four—the Gasworks served as the setting for Orwell's "Proletarian Zones".

Beckton is named after Simon Adams Beck, the governor of the Gas Light and Coke Company when work building Beckton Gas Works began in November 1868.

The area is served by TfL bus services 101, 173, 262, 300, 366, 376, 474, 673, 678; and night bus N551

Part of the 1985 Max Headroom TV Movie 20 Minutes into the future was shot at Beckton Gasworks.

Kingsford Community School is a secondary school located close to Beckton DLR. It opened in September 2000, and educates full-time students from the ages of 11 to 16.

England and current Sunderland A.F.C. striker Jermain Defoe was born in Beckton. Defoe has said Beckton has "made him the man he is today". On 13 February 2006 Jermain Defoe scored his 100th Premier League goal against Charlton. He celebrated making a "B" sign with his hands to commemorate Beckton.[citation needed]

The works lay within the London Docklands area and parts were redeveloped by the London Docklands Development Corporation.

A proposed £35 M replacement the SnowWorld indoor centre to be built on the site has run into financial problems.[10]

At its peak, Beckton supplied gas to over four million Londoners, as well as manufac­turing by-​​products such as creosote, fertilisers, inks and dyes. It was not until the switch to natural gas in the 1960s that the works were scaled down. The neigh­bouring marshland was formerly occupied by hundreds of garden allotments and was also the site of a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War.

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The video for Loop's 1990 single 'Arc-lite' was filmed on the set of Full Metal Jacket.[12] The gasworks was used as the main background scene for the Oasis video 'D'You Know What I Mean?', as it shows the band members playing on a concrete slab within the gasworks. The videoclip for Marcella Detroit's 1994 single 'I Believe' was shot in this location. Also, the 1995 TV series Bugs episode 'Out Of The Hive' shows the entire works in a scene where a car drives off an unfinished bridge in flames.

After the Second World War a major reconstruction project was undertaken by the civil engineer T. P. O'Sullivan of Brian Colquhoun and Partners. Following nationalisation in 1949 the plant was owned by the North Thames Gas Board. After closure the residual site passed to British Gas and Transco.

Andrew Birkin's 1990 film of Ian McEwan's novel, The Cement Garden, was also filmed in Beckton and starred Charlotte Gainsbourg, who could often be seen (at the time of filming) shopping in the aisles of ASDA. In several scenes of The Cement Garden, aircraft can be heard taxiing at the nearby London City Airport. Winsor House, which served as the backdrop to the movie was later demolished and the Winsor Lodge Hotel stands there now.

Its boundaries are the A13 trunk road to the north, Barking Creek to the east, the Royal Docks to the south, and Prince Regent Lane to the west. The area around Prince Regent Lane is also known as Custom House. Modern Beckton is divided into East Beckton, Mid Beckton, North Beckton, West Beckton, South Beckton and Cyprus (named after the British capture of Cyprus from the Ottoman Empire in 1878, which occurred as the original estate was being built).

Beckton Alps and Gasworks 1973, from the A13

Beckton Gasworks was a major London gasworks built to manufacture coal gas and other products including coke from coal. It has been variously described as 'the largest such plant in the world' [1][2] and 'the largest gas works in Europe'.[3] It operated from 1870 to 1969, with an associated by-products works that operated from 1879 to 1970. The works were located on East Ham Level, on the north bank of the Thames at Gallions Reach, to the west of Barking Creek.

A former industrial waste tip was landscaped as ‘the Beckton Alps’ when the new town was built. Most of the waste was slag from Beckton gasworks but it also included debris from the basement of the new British Library, while a railway locomotive is said to be buried at the base. A dry ski slope was constructed on the hillside but this closed in 2001 and the site has since evolved into a nature reserve.

Beckton absorbed the localities of Cyprus (which has its own page on Hidden London) and Winsor Park, which was built in the 1870s to house gasworks employees. Frederic Winsor was the anglicised name of Friedrich Albrecht Winzler, the Bavarian founder of the Gas, Light and Coke Company. Several original properties survive on Winsor Terrace, with two-​​up-​​two-​​downs for the workers and generously propor­tioned end-​​of-​​terrace houses for foremen.

Immediately after the Second World War, large numbers of prefabs were built in Beckton, to house those made homeless by the war. The prefab-lined streets were all named after well-known generals and war heroes, but in the redevelopment of North Beckton in the 1980s, these were all swept away with the exception of Eisenhower Drive.

There is a bus station directly in front of the station offering services right across East London.

Beckton is ethnically diverse, with large numbers of single people, lone parents and students.

The A13/A117 road junction is also named Beckton Alps.[11]

In the opening minutes of the 2007 Simon Pegg film Hot Fuzz, the Tate & Lyle factory, Silvertown, and the City Airport aprons can be seen through the window blinds of Building 1000.

1977 plans for phase three of the Jubilee Line showed Beckton as a proposed eastern terminus,[citation needed] although these plans were never fulfilled.


The plant was opened in 1870 by the Gas Light and Coke Company (GLCC). 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. It came eventually to manufacture gas for most of London north of the Thames, with numerous smaller works being closed. Its counterpart south of the river was the South Metropolitan Gas Co's East Greenwich Gas Works on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Beckton is the eastern terminus of the Beckton branch of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) in the Docklands area of east London. It is in Travelcard Zone 3.

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Derek Jarman's 1986 promotional video for The Smiths 'The Queen is Dead' single was partly shot at Beckton Gasworks.

Part of the extensive industrial railway route has since been used for the Docklands Light Railway between Beckton DLR station and the Royal Docks Road. The site also houses the Beckton DLR depot.

Like all open-air DLR stations, Beckton is unmanned and tickets are bought at the ticket machines. New machines were installed in January 2009 that now allow Oyster card users to top-up their pre-pay balance and see their journey history.[citation needed] During 2007–2008, a new bus station was constructed directly opposite the DLR station. This opened in the first week of November 2008.[citation needed]

The Gasworks were still extant—although derelict—in the early 1980s, when Stanley Kubrick's team came scouting for an area that could double for the battle scenes in his 1987 movie, Full Metal Jacket. The Gasworks rough concrete structures were painted with Vietnamese script, and then strategically dynamited so as to resemble war-torn Hue. Retail parks now cover most of the Gasworks site.

Beckton DLR depot, the principal depot for the DLR system, is located between Beckton and Gallions Reach stations, but is actually closer to the latter.

Virtually no trace of the old gasworks now exists. Bisected by many roads, including the A1020 Royal Docks Road, a small area of the waste tip and some gas holders remain, separated by a mile or so of redevelopment. Parts of the site are occupied by an industrial estate, the Beckton Retail Park and Gallions Reach Shopping Park.

From 1981, docklands regen­eration in Beckton created a cluster of industrial and commercial ‘parks’ and thousands of new homes.

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The video for Loop's 1990 single 'Arc-lite' was filmed on the set of Full Metal Jacket,[2] as was the video for the 1997 Oasis single, "D'You Know What I Mean?"