Below it is Gowan Hill, and beyond this the Mote or Heading Hill, on which Murdoch Stuart, 2nd duke of Albany, his two sons, and his fatherin-law the earl of Lennox, were beheaded in 1425.
Illuminating Gas.-The first practical application of gas distilled from coal as an illuminating agent is generally as cribed to William Murdoch, who between the years of 1792 and 1802 demonstrated the possibility of making gas from coal and using it as a lighting agent on a large scale.
An impression exists in Cornwall, where Murdoch's early experiments were made, that it was a millwright named Hornblower who first suggested the process of making gas to Murdoch, but, as has been shown, the fact that illuminating gas could be obtained from coal by distillation was known a century before Murdoch made his experiments, and the most that can be claimed for him is that he made the first successful application of it on a practical scale.
This application was opposed by Murdoch on the ground of his priority in invention, and the bill was thrown out, but coming to parliament for a second time in 1810, Winsor succeeded in getting it passed in a very much curtailed form, and, a charter being granted later in 181 2, the company was called the Chartered Gas Light and Coke Company, and was the direct forerunner of the present London Gas Light and Coke Company.
The vertical retort was one of the first forms experimented with by Murdoch, but owing to the difficulty of withdrawing the coke, the low illuminating power of the gas made in it, and the damage to the retort itself, due to the swelling of the charge during distillation, it was quickly abandoned.