171211 12 Dec History lecture: Old King Coal

child miners

coal minerDate: Monday 11th December 10:30
Location: Salón de Actos, Espai la Senieta, Moraira (next to the large free car park)
Subject: Old King Coal
Lecturer: Cheda Panajotovic

Marco Polo travelled to China in the 13th century and described coal as “black stones which burn like logs”. It was so plentiful, he wrote, that people could take three hot baths a week! He may well have been surprised as there are no mines in his native Venice.

Yet, at that same time London was bringing in ‘sea coal’ from the Newcastle area of the NE. The wharf where the material arrived in London was granted a charter by King Henry III in 1253. The Coal was delivered to Seacoal and to Newcastle Lanes thus ‘taking coals to Newcastle’!

In 1257–59, coal from Newcastle upon Tyne was shipped to London for the smiths and lime-burners building Westminster Abbey. These easily accessible surface sources could not meet the growing demand. Our horrendous story starts when the surface coal gets exhausted and when men and women started to dig deep below the earth’s surface, helped by their 10 yr. old and sometimes younger children.


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