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Coal Men

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Coal Men

Some of you will remember coal men, the chaps who delivered your coal in bags off the back of a lorry.

Does anyone remember what the weight of those full bags were ?

It would have either been 56 lb or 112 lb ?

Some posh folk actually had a coal cellar, there was a grid in the pavement which could be removed to give access to the cellar.

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Re: Coal Men

I remember coal men delivering coal form the back of a hopper truck with a dispenser setup that filled the sacks on the go, but given I last saw one when I was about 7 (I'm now 32), I couldn't say how heavy the sacks were when filled... Grin

 

Still plenty people burning coal round here though, the smell of the stuff is in the air on colder days, but these days it gets delivered on the back of a pickup in pre-filled sacks from local coal merchants...

rongtw
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Re: Coal Men

My Neighbour has a wood burner in his living room , which he also buys smokeless coal in 25kg sacks ,, or 55 LB Thumbs Up

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Re: Coal Men

We weren't posh but we had a cellar with a coal hole about six feet away from our front door.

If Mum was out shopping when I came home from school I would often lift the plain round cover off and drop down the hole and carefully slide down the coal pile. Then up the cellar steps and into the house. Wiping my feet of course.

I can't remember whether the sacks were a hundredweight or half.

agedgopher
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Re: Coal Men

I remember coal men. The sacks were massive, I am sure they were 1 hundredweight, 112 lbs.

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Re: Coal Men

Hundredweight was the standard and then it moved to 50kg (110 lbs) and that is how I used to buy my fertilizer (from the agricultural merchants) and I think also the potting compost until it was decided that it was too heavy for the modern generation who weren't used to lifting heavy loads and it was reduced to 25kg

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Re: Coal Men

@Oldjim

I thought they were a hundredweight so thanks for confirming that.

Our coal was left outdoors around the back of the house and they had a fairly long drive to carry it down, I seemed to remember they had some sort of thick protection on their backs.

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Re: Coal Men

We had a coal cupboard at the front of the house with a hatch. It didn't seem that easy to lift the bags up to empty them into it.

 

When we got central heating installed the cupboard was cleaned and whitewashed and became a cloakroom.

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Re: Coal Men

We had a cellar where our coal was kept.

It was delivered into the cellar via an opening by the front door.

The opening was covered by a steel plate and if I came home to find my Mum was out shopping, I could move the plate and slip down into the cellar and up the stairs. The door at the cellar-head wasn't locked.

Years later I think to myself why didn't burglars use the same means to rob us.

1. There were less car owners so many more people walking up and down the road to see suspicious activity.

2. We had very little of value worth taking.

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Re: Coal Men


Strat wrote:

Years later I think to myself why didn't burglars use the same means to rob us.


I used to think the same until I was passing my old house a few decades later.

And I realised the burglars would have had to be tiny or 5 or 6 years old.

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Re: Coal Men

1 cwt bags or 20 to the ton. As a young boy I always ended up with the job of counting the sacks delivered to the coal hole to make sure the right amount was delivered.  The coalmen would slide the bags off the high level flatbed truck onto their upper back and then tip from their shoulder into the coal hole. So not too much lifting.

Nowadays I buy coal by the tonne in 25kg plastic bags. It comes stacked on a pallet of 40 bags. The trouble is that it is a kerbside delivery, so muggins has to shift it three bags at a time on a sack truck. While this involves 20 minutes hard work, it is a lot cheaper than garage coal or even a full delivery service by the local coalman.

 

 

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Re: Coal Men

@AlaricAdair

That's interesting.

I thought the use of coal fires was banned due to pollution ?

Or is it only banned in certain areas ?

Smiley

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Re: Coal Men


gleneagles wrote:

Or is it only banned in certain areas ?

Smiley


 

Some areas, particularly former mining communities, are still free from the clean air act smokeless-zone stuff, so can burn coal in open fires, even thought it's smelly and quite wasteful, but it's what they've been doing for years so they'll keep doing it...

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Re: Coal Men

@twocvbloke

Strange that there are areas not covered by the clean air act I would have thought with all the various legislation from the EU, issues around climate change and air quality that burning of fossil fuels would be banned.

The other issue is the cost of coal, it must be one of the most expensive options for heating a private house and as you mention the least efficient.

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Re: Coal Men

It's just a holdover from mining, houses round here were built with open fireplaces to run on coal, and a lot of them were later converted to gas or electric heating and the fireplaces closed up, but there are a few houses still with open fires (the previous house I was in had an open fire, nice to have, bloody cold though in the winter so stuffed a load of bubblewrap up the chimney when no in use) which are still used for heating water and/or heating the radiators, it's just one of them "I've been doing it for years and I'll do it 'til I die" thing that some of the older folk stick to...

 

As for legislation, well, this part of the country was ravaged by thatcher and her anti-labour class agendas, and of course a lot of the legislation was basically given the middle finger due to the cost of converting houses from coal to gas/electric (not to mention getting gas pipes to homes as even in the 90s there were still houses without gas), I'm sure someday it'll become a smokeless/no open fires area soon though, but for now, it's a burn all the coal you want, nowt the government can do about it... Smiley