View Full Version : coal ash labourer
27-03-2008, 10:37 PM
I've just come across a "coal ash labourer". Anyone any ideas of what he would have done?
Coal ash is obviously the residue left from buring coal, but I wonder what this chap would have done with it. He was in Ramsgate, so not in an industrial area.
27-03-2008, 10:47 PM
I did a search with the words "coal ash labourer" in this site and it brought up a couple of hits. Click on search at the left of the page:
A lot of reading is involved but it seems to refer to dockside labourers in one part.
28-03-2008, 11:56 AM
Could coal ash refer to the powdered coal rather than lumps? I wonder if they were responsible for the clean up of 'slack'? At present, coal ash refers to the mineral content in coal (ie the rock as opposed to the carbon-based material), which is washed out as part of clean coal technology. Not sure if this relates though ;). I am interested to find out what the job of coal ash labourer is, as I am a mining engineer at a coal mine :).
28-03-2008, 4:07 PM
Thanks for the link, Jan, but I couldn't find anything specifically relating to coal ash.
Bunty, I doubt it was anything to do with mining. Ramsgate is a small sea port with a hinterland of farmland. There were no mines in the immediate vicinity, though there were several within a 20-mile radius - now all closed down.
28-03-2008, 5:17 PM
What year was this?
Could it be that he was the forerunner to what (in my day :)) was called a dustman, who collected the ashes from open fires? (in modern times referred to as 'refuse collectors' ?)
28-03-2008, 5:22 PM
It was 1861. I had considered someone who collected ash from open fires, but I think most people used to chuck the ashes down the garden or maybe used them in the privy. And why specifically coal ash? I believe wood ash was used in soap making at one time, but I don't know about coal ash.
28-03-2008, 5:31 PM
Just found this website:
Seems like coal ash can be used in concrete/building blocks, but would this have been the case in 1861?
Oh dear, I'm off at a tangent again! This chappy was nothing at all to do with my own family and there I am finding out about his job!
29-03-2008, 8:03 AM
Yes, a dustman sounds like a possible job. Fly ash from coal wasn't used in concrete until the 1930s though. It may have been used in some other product though. Perhaps brick making?
06-01-2010, 12:28 AM
Not sure when the 'job' was done , but could the 'coal ash' be the residue of ANTHRACITE' which was used to cut down on the 'pea-soupers' we experienced in the waely 1950's?
06-01-2010, 9:13 AM
Did he, I wonder, clean the ash from some sort of coal-fired boiler? And dust was considered very valuable if my memory serves me well - it's a long time since I've read Our Mutual Friend with Mr Boffin and his dust heaps.
06-01-2010, 10:09 AM
it was also used for laying paths, i believe.
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.3 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.