A piece of coal

Contributed by Julia Baker

This large lump of Wallsend coal is between 200 and 400 million years old. It was bought by my grandmother in 1939 from a coalman in Preston at thirty shillings a ton. My grandparents considered Wallsend coal the best so they kept this piece because it was unusually large and because they were unable to buy any again. They thought this was due to the war, not knowing that the last Wallsend pit ceased production in 1935.

Burning coal created pollution and after the Great Smog of 1952 came the Clean Air Acts enabling local authorities to ban the domestic consumption of coal. The 1970s and 1980s saw the miners' strikes to protect communities and cultures which had formed around what had become a declining industry. Coal powered the Industrial Revolution but is increasingly becoming an obsolete fuel, leaving us with the legacy of Global Warming which will affect all our futures.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 11:31 on 14 October 2010, melwoodland wrote:

    Despite the fact this piece of coal is 200-400 million years old, it sounds like the most interesting part of its life so far took place in the last 50 years. A lovely story and great picture next to the faux coals in the modern fireplace!

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