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A Collection of Coaling Photographs c.1870-1914

Posted by Steven Gray, on November 13th, 2012


Once steam power had been introduced into the Royal Navy the new technology demanded regular and massive supplies of coal around the world, most from the South Wales coalfield, but also from New Zealand’s Westport for the Australia and China stations.   Coaling was arduous and dangerous as well as dirty, and it was not always possible for local labour to supply the heavy lifting.   There were different coping mechanisms: sometimes there was competition between two ships coaling at once; special rations were served; cans of lime juice were distributed, although they had to be drunk at once or they would be covered with coal dust; fancy dress protected normal working wear; sometimes the marine band played.

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