Coals to Brighton

Coal Brigs on Brighton Beach by John Constable, c.1824, courtesy of www.john-constable.org

Coal Brigs on Brighton Beach by John Constable, c.1824, courtesy of http://www.john-constable.org

Yesterday I speculated about a probable coal store in Newmarket Cottage. Further research revealed this excellent article on the history of coal use in nearby Brighton, and the local entrepreneur James Corrall:

Hove, Portslade and Brighton in the Past: James Corrall of Brighton.

From this it appears that coal was significantly used as a fuel by the labouring classes of Southern England in at least 1830. This was a decade before the railways. Therefore the coal store in Newmarket Farm may well have been contemporary with the original construction of the cottage. Careful archaeological excavation may help determine whether this was so. Also, coal fireplaces require a grate to provide air flow from underneath. Wood burning fireplaces needed no grate. If we can locate the remains of the fireplace, might its design tell us something of the nature of the fuel the first tenants were expected to use?

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